Alan de Vries, Class of 2001, Entrepreneur and Artisan
Many may know the name Alan de Vries, Class of 2001, from their time at ASH or remember his mother Cheryl, who was a beloved ASH Dutch teacher. Today, his name may ring a bell for a different reason - as an entrepreneur and culinary artisan who owns and operates Restaurant CRU in Scheveningen, which just happened to be the location for the latest private working dinner with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Emmanuel Macron.
But wait, how did Alan get from here to there? Let’s wind back to his graduation from ASH in 2001. He and his family were immensely proud of this achievement, and yet Alan still had uncertainty in his future choices and where his path in life would take him. He decided to leave the Netherlands and move to Miami to study sound engineering, something he pursued persistently for quite some time. It was only while working part-time as a concierge, as a side job to his studies, that he discovered cooking to be his true passion. After a very diverse learning experience in the US, he returned to the Netherlands in 2009 to embark upon his newly found and developed passion. After a few years of holding jobs as a sous-chef and chef in various restaurants in The Hague, Alan decided to take charge and become an entrepreneur, starting his own meat delivery business. Artisanal Butcher CRU was launched in 2015, delivering artisan game, fowl and specialty meats to restaurants in The Hague and Amsterdam, and as this business grew, Alan decided to open Restaurant CRU in November 2019.
With the eruption of COVID-19 causing the halt of the public culinary experience, Alan was keen to find ways to keep his business, and passion, afloat - one that he has worked so hard to achieve - while also helping fellow restaurants and hospitality professionals. When restrictions were loosened at the beginning of June, Alan joined forces with local restaurant “Le Café”, letting them operate from the CRU premises for a few months, to help a fellow restaurateur survive the corona crisis. It is through this union of two small culinary connoisseurs that presented the perfect setting for hosting a couple of very high profile guests.
Now fast forward to June 23, when Alan, alongside his new culinary collaborator Le Café, hosted a private working dinner in Restaurant CRU for Prime Minister Rutte and President Macron. But why CRU and Le Café? It turns out, Prime Minister Rutte was a regular patron of Le Café in pre-corona times, and having recently dined at Le Café in CRU, he decided almost overnight to choose it as the venue for his upcoming working dinner with his French counterpart. Pictures of the two statesmen in CRU were published in Dutch, French and German media and mention of the dinner even made it into the New York Times. Most certainly if Alan thinks back to his ASH graduation in 2001, hosting a dinner for the Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the President of France at his own restaurant, it may not be something he saw in his future - which just illustrates that sometimes, taking the chance on an unexplored path may just be the intended path after all.