About La Falote
A short history of Peter and his restaurant La Falote
On 18 June 1981 I made my first steps in the restaurant business. At first I chose to work as a waiter since there was no place as a cook available. I combined this work with a professional catering training for cafés and restaurants, which lasted for five years. Fortunately this was a part time training, because school was not my most favourite ‘thing’. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, because it was possible to mix learning and practice at the same time.
My career started at ‘Het Wapen van Willemstad’ in Brabant (South of Holland), where I was born and raised. After only five months I quit this job on advice of my father, because he thought there were too little opportunities for me to further develop my skills: I was too often just washing the dishes. My first job was at ‘Van Tilburg’ in Steenbergen (also in Brabant), where the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Dirven, offered me a great opportunity. Here I learned to prepare meals for big festivities, such as weddings, business meetings and funerals. From early morning to late at night I worked hard but with a lot of pleasure. Luckily enough for me the chef de cuisine was a man who showed his appreciation for my commitment.
After two years I moved to ‘De Zwaan’ in Etten-Leur (Brabant). This was an important step for me for which I am very grateful to Mr. Dirven. At ‘De Zwaan’ I further learned to master the profession. The owner, Mr. Peijnenburg, gave me all opportunities to learn the more technical part, such as filleting fish at the table of the guests. In the fourth year I moved to Eindhoven (Brabant) and started to work at ‘De Karpendonkse Hoeve’, which had received a Michelin Star. Here I learned everything about how to serve your guests. As a 5th year student I was obliged to wear a blank jacket; within half a year I was able to improve myself and as a reward I got a new position, and a black coat. Then there was the final exam, and I passed it exam with an average of 8.6. Because of the reputation of the owner, Mr. Van Eeghem and his ‘Karpendonkse Hoeve’, it was relatively easy to find a next job: doors opened quite easily. I then worked with much pleasure at ‘Molen de Dikkert’ in Amstelveen and ‘Auberge De Kieviet’ (Nooord-Holland), where we were challenged and succeeded to obtain a Michelin Star in two years.
My next job was at Restaurant ‘De Hoop op de Swarte Walvis’ in Zaandam (Noord-Holland), again a first class restaurant with a one star rating. Here I was responsible for catering parties, for 10 up to 400 persons, but also diners for VIP´s, [inter]national quests as well as politicians and captains of industry, even the Royal Family. I then moved to ‘De Watergeus’ in Noorden (Zuid-Holland).Some day a dream came true, and that was the day that I got a job at an Amsterdam company, ‘La Perche d’Or’. For me as a country boy I learned a lot about the big city and in particular about the humor of the Amsterdam citizens.
And then at one day I woke up and wished I could start something on my own! In May 1991 I read an advertisement in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf for a Dutch restaurant, ‘La Falote’ in the Roelof Hartstraat 26, in the southern part of Amsterdam. The price and the location were excellent. Since 1939 it had been an ice cream parlor, a tea room, and even a snack bar respectively. I visited the restaurant only once, on a Friday afternoon around half past five. I ordered a meatball with bread and a softdrink. If a meatball tastes good, you know that the rest of the kitchen is okay as well.
On 15 June 1991 the owners and I sat at the office of the estate agent. The owners, Mr. Bernhard van Dam and his wife Ria, fully trusted me and my promise to maintain the original character of the restaurant. I went home and after five hectic weeks I finally was able to get some sleep. On 1 August 1991 at three o’clock pm Alma (my former wife) and I welcomed our first guests. Why did I choose to have a restaurant of my own? I was only 27 years old then but I realized that despite all my experience I missed the real responsibility of being self-employed, making your own decisions. Now I had to do it all on my own. And I did like it! For that reason, after 8 years of hard work, I did not choose to sale my company, but to make an investment in improving the formula and renovating the interior.
Now, again 8 years later, here it is: a beautiful and fresh furnished restaurant in the Roelof Hartstraat, of which I am really very proud of and in which I am still working with much pleasure. I am assisted by a group of enthusiastic people. I find it is important that everyone, both my guests and my staff, feels at home in La Falote. It is this aim that gives me job satisfaction and pleasure in life.Hoping to meet you soon!
Peter van der Linden