I moved then to Port Elisabeth in South Africa, heading the three kitchens of the prestigeous Marine Hotel. This also involved organising
huge, very exclusive events at the local race course.
After one and a half years I tried my luck as a cook-caterer for private partys
in Durban until a call by a former Manager of the Windhoek Grand Hotel brought me to the Assembly Hotel in Pretoria.
After a short stay in this very busy hotel in 1970, I shifted to a company called Union Caterers, also in Pretoria.
This company, just purchased by two long time friends, Henk van Heteren and Wimpy Schneider, was still struggeling very hard to get a foot
hold in the catering market. Because my income was linked to the volume of business, in the beginning it was often rather meager.
Yet my trust in this two outstanding hoteliers and caterers with very original ideas and an inexaustible energy kept me going and make my
contribution as a chef to the enormous success and growth the company eventually enjoyed.
Union Caterers Buffet
We developed a style of presentation and buffet show pieces that were unique and became asossiated with Union Caterers.
Union Caterers wedding coach
Amongst our clients were most of the embassies in Pretoria, mining corporations, the national government, and municipalities in the
greater Johannesburg. Functions of over 1000 guests were common and at the end of my time with the company, which also run two restaurants,
I headed a kitchen staff of 30. In the beginning I trained all the cooks (mainly ladies) myself. I would take great pleasure many years
later when my own son was enrolled for a cooks practicum at Union Caterers, and was trained by some of the very same ladies!
First Kitchen Crew Union Caterers
In 1975 I was about to become a partner in the business, but while on a holiday in Kenya I met my future wife, Wangari Nguyo. She was an
African of the Kikuyu community; in the days of apartheid this meant the end of my career with the company I identified with-and to
everything else I loved and treasured in South Africa.