Thursday, July 24, 2014
Frits Huntjens in the Canterbury Room at Westminster
Canterbury Richmond.
Residents and guests at Westminster Canterbury Richmond have  a new reason to be excited about on-campus dining. Frits Huntjens, the former owner of 1 North Belmont and former head chef at Max’s Positive Vibe Café, is directing the retirement community’s dining team, which includes about 150 people serving 1,800 meals a day at 31 dining venues.

The job, which Huntjens started last month, also involves designing menus, writing recipes for the dining and catering operations, and overseeing the serving processs.

Through a spokeswoman for Westminster-Canterbury — home to about 900 people — Huntjens emphasizes that he is tweaking things, not fixing them, with the goal of finding the right mix of entrées.

In the Canterbury Room, a fine-dining venue, he has added duck sliders as a new menu item. He’s also planning to offer Dover sole, his signature dish at 1 North Belmont, and he hopes to improve the wine list and to hold a wine seminar for residents.

“I’m really glad to be here,” Huntjens says. “For me it’s like still doing what I like to do and being involved in the restaurant scene.”

As noted in a 2006 Richmond magazine article, Huntjens grew up working in his parents’ restaurant in the Netherlands, and his experience includes training under a former chef to the czar of Russia as well as working under the tutelage of celebrated Belgian chef Paul van Vliet. He has also served as general manager of the Hermitage Country Club and, years earlier, at the Richmond Marriott. Huntjens is immediate past president of the Richmond chapter of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society, and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s best chef/mid-Atlantic award in 2008.

“What Frits will do is give us a unique flair in the Canterbury Room and catering and bring more of a health-cooking perspective all around campus,” says Tom Pyle, dining-services director.   

Along with more gourmet fare, Huntjens will offer Westminster Canterbury residents comfort food such as fried chicken and house-made desserts as well as healthy entrées like grilled salmon. 

“I look at this as a village,” he says. “It’s more than a community. There’s so much to offer here.”

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