I still remember it like it was yesterday. At the beginning of the hotelschool, I said with my big mouth, that I was never going to work in a hotel. I enjoyed it more to work in restaurants. After two internships and a job in a hotel, I am not so sure anymore...
Here I am, Milou Agterberg, 28 years, born and raised in Utrecht. Since Maastricht has not been southern enough for me, I am writing this blog from the beautiful city of Antwerp. I look back with great pleasure at my period at Hotel Management School Maastricht, especially the internships abroad, which helped me to get where I am today.
It all started when I had to choose my first internship. I did not want to work as a waitress, because I had already done that for years as a side job. Housekeeping and front office did not appeal to me either. I wanted to do something different, something new and challenging. I gained a bit of experience working in my father's kitchen and this, literally, tasted like more. My dad is a chef and a restaurant owner, so I was raised in a family that loves to cook and knows what hospitality is all about.
During module 3, when I heard about a kitchen internship in South Africa at Margot Janse, the choice was quickly made. Margot Janse is a Dutch top chef who, at that time, led the kitchen of The Tasting Room, the restaurant of hotel Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek. A restaurant which was in the top 3 in Africa and for years in 'The World's 50 Best Restaurants' list. This was a challenging internship, where I learned to work in a professional kitchen on a high level. During that internship, Margot praised the two Michelin star restaurant Amber in Hong Kong. This restaurant was a part of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel and also led by a Dutch top chef, Richard Ekkebus. And so, the idea for my second kitchen internship arose...
Finally, after 1,5 years and many selection rounds later, I was lucky enough to actually go to Hong Kong. This internship was tough! I worked long days and I spent almost all my spare time with my graduation assignment. But I learned a lot, got a lot of responsibility and got the benefit to see all the different sections of the kitchen. An experience that I will never forget!
But yeah, what is next? I noticed that all of my friends from my year club at Amphitryon already had a job or were studying, while I was still recovering from my challenging internship. At that moment I asked my chef Richard Ekkebus for advice. He didn’t think twice and said I should go and work for a very good teacher, his former chef, Sidney Schutte. At the same time, my year club friend, Laura Tasevski, was doing her internship at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam as the kitchen coordinator of Librije's Zusje. The restaurant of top chef Sidney Schutte. With help of Richard and Laura I started working as a Demi Chef de Partie in the pastry section of Librije's Zusje (now called: Spectrum). This was the first time I worked in pastry and immediately on a Michelin star level. I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted to specialize in pastry and is there a better place to learn, than from one of the best pastry chefs: Roger van Damme?
With the help of Sidney Schutte, I was able to do an internship for six months at Lunch-Lounge Het Gebaar in Antwerp. This restaurant is known for its amazing pastries. Unfortunately, the internship was cut short because of the Corona situation. However, I was not done learning. That is why I am incredibly grateful, especially during this time, that I got the opportunity to be a part of their team. Nowadays, I work with a lot of pleasure at Lunch-Lounge Het Gebaar and concerning pastry a world has opened up for me. I really love the fact that we are able to work with top quality ingredients. With Roger van Damme it is all about the details, which suits well with my perfectionistic character. I hope I can work here for a long time and gain more knowledge.
In the future, I would like to open a lunch restaurant in Amsterdam where you can drink a really good cup of coffee, enjoy a delicious lunch and have tasty drinks and bites with a great glass of wine, accompanied by a pastry shop where you can buy tasty goodies to enjoy at home. Yeah, that sounds great! As for now, I keep on dreaming, because Sweet Dreams are made of.........
With love, Milou Agterberg
Sharon Opstal left to travel for a year after graduation, and to this day lives and works in M’pai Bay in Cambodia!
Sophie Bozon combines travelling in her van with setting up her own business, 'Virtual Sophie'