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M

y first internship was at Kempinski, in Berlin. One of the most sensible choices I ever made. It was in the eastern part, really old East Germany, with a completely different mindset. There I was, living with people who did not speak English well. So within two weeks I spoke German, because I just had to, every day. I worked 12 – 16 hours per day. My second internship was in London, at the Cocktail Bar at One Aldwych Hotel. London is just a fantastic city. Compared to that, Amsterdam really is a village. If you compare it to Berlin or London, only the mentality is pretty similar; ‘work hard, play hard’. I had so many beautiful moments at Hotelschool The Hague. It is of course super intensive, living with 300+ students in one building; it is one big party. But besides partying I was also involved with more serious things. I worked for the Embassies here in The Hague. It is very special working together with the different Ambassadors and getting to know them. At some point I grew close to, for example, Priscilla Jana, Ambassador of South Africa. She was one of Nelson Mandela’s attorneys. And the Ambassador of Switzerland came to cook with us in the kitchen, while giving us tips about life. We saw Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, weekly. And while he was Prime-Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende visited the Spanish Embassy frequently. He was a very nice and impressive man. I eventually received a written recommendation letter from different ambassadors. After I graduated, I’ve done a number of jobs. I worked for a company caterer, as a district manager, which was not the job for me; way too much paperwork. I also worked at Sustainable Dance Club, and helped to set up a franchise in healthy products, smoothies and salads. That was my first job dealing with eating healthy and beautiful food. But I always knew that I wanted to start my own company. And I started just over 1.5 years ago. I registered, and started ManicOrganic. I try to be as sustainable as possible and carry this out throughout different parts of my company. I used old office desks and turned them into restaurant tables and pallets from the street were turned into a DJ booth. Most of the furniture and decoration is recycled or upcycled which gives my event location a very cosy ambiance. The polos and shirts that we wear while working are made from organic cotton. The organic shoes are made by a Dutch designer. I try to buy local as much as possible,

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seasonal products, organic, halal and a lot vegetarian. But the most important is presentation and taste. After all it’s about hospitality! Besides this, I’m working on some interesting new projects. I am developing luxury yoga retreats, together with friends from the States. In November I will have a big moustache again, as I am the ambassador, or ‘posterboy’ for Movember. I am a survivor myself, so it all fell into place when they asked me for their posters. The goal is to raise awareness and money. Letting a moustache grow for a month is a silly way to show your commitment, but since we do it as a team, it is quite fun. As an entrepreneur it is sometimes quiet for 4 weeks and then I have 8 days of 14 to 16 hour work days, or a month of non-stop working. My goal for the coming period is: how can I regain a normal rhythm with normal work weeks? You have to look after yourself. Because when you stick your neck out and you are willing to actively be involved with different things, more and more things will come your way. And that is how you recognise a Hotelschool The Hague graduate; they live their life in a certain way. These are often people who do something ‘on the side’ besides their permanent job. They are proactive, they don’t wait. And that is also in my nature. If I see something I want, I go and get it!

Taste of HTH Magazine  

Celebrating 85 years Hotelschool The Hague, featuring interviews with some of our entrepreneurial alumni.

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