|At 17 years of age cleaning a Turbot
Frits Huntjens is best known for his career as an hotelier and hospitality business executive. However, unbeknownst to most, his true passion is the culinary arts. At the age of twelve, Frits’ parents opened their first French restaurant in the south of the Netherlands. Like so many children growing up in a restaurant, he quickly learned the “art” of washing dishes and peeling potatoes among other “fun” chores that the chefs, including his father delegated to young Huntjens. While apprenticing, Huntjens had the opportunity to work under Chef Couturier, a former Sous Chef to the Czar of Russia. Chef Huntjens graduated from the National Culinary Apprentice Program (the Netherlands).
As aide de cuisine at “Chateau Gors op Leeuw” in Belgium, Chef Huntjens worked under the tutelage of Paul van Vliet, who was considered at the time to be one of the most talented chefs in the country. At “La Cigogne d’Alsace” in Antwerp (1 star, Michelin Guide) Chef Huntjens worked as Garde Manger. Returning as Sous Chef to his parents’ new French restaurant in an old French chalet once owned by the Honorable Schimmelpennick, formerly the Dutch prime minister. At 21, Chef Huntjens took over as Executive Chef. The restaurant quickly received an excellent reputation - four forks & spoons in the Michelin Guide, one step removed from a star. Upon the sale of the restaurant, Huntjens decided to study at the Hotel School in Ostende, Belgium.
In 1976, Chef Huntjens had the honor to be the youngest member inducted into Chaine des Rotisseurs (U.K.), an international fraternity of gastronomy. In London, Chef Huntjens managed the Marriott Marble Arch, featuring a small intimate French restaurant “La Biblioteque”. As an hotelier, Huntjens has often been recognized for the successes in his hotels and most notably for the excellence in the food and beverage departments. At the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort (Lexington, Kentucky), his team was awarded “the best food and beverage department in Marriott Resorts.” The Mansion Restaurant, under Chef Huntjens’ leadership, received the only AAA Four Diamond award in the state of Kentucky.
Huntjens moved to Richmond, Virginia to open the Marriott as General Manager, and worked concurrently at the Richmond Convention Center. He then had the opportunity to consult on and re-open the Convention Center, as well. Additional consulting clients have included Colonial Downs and the Sayers Group.
October 2004, Chef Huntjens opened 1 North Belmont Restaurant, an intimate restaurant serving classic French cuisine in an unpretentious, yet professional style. The restaurant was awarded AAA Four Diamond Award for 2006 and 2007, one of 739 in the United States.