Pauline van Hasselt has always had an interest in the culinary arts from young age as she would try to help her mother in the kitchen stirring the pots and baking cookies. At 13, she got her first job at a warehouse food court where she proudly sliced hams, cut cheese, and served cakes to the crowds. Soon after, her job as a waitress at Brasserie Olivier turned her world upside down; she loved serving people and being a barista. She quickly realized that the guys in the kitchen were having a bit more fun than she was so she transferred there and experienced working long hours in the dish pit, cleaning plates, and taking out the trash. This work did not suit her well but gave the foundation to becoming a strong chef.
Luckily for her, she was promoted to working in the kitchen slicing everything, including her fingers! Her passion was profound, serving Dutch crowds at top speed at this small brasserie. She worked for a year at a café/ bar where she cooked alone in the kitchen and started bartending at the age of 19. But the kitchen of Brassiere Olivier had her heart and she returned to the small kitchen, occasionally replacing the chef when he had holiday.
When her father and stepmother offered to move her to Texas and go to culinary school, she had many doubts since Holland was her home and she loved it there. She then had a moment of clarity and moved to Texas at 21 where she started culinaryschool at Houston Community College. It became one of the best decisions she ever made: she thrived in the classes like never before and soon became one of the best students of the year. Van Hasselt competed in several iron-chef style competitions and won all of them beating the Cordon Bleu Culinary School and Hilton Hospitality School.
Van Hasselt worked long hours in several kitchens a week honing her skills. While completing her Associate of Culinary Arts certification she worked at the restaurant kitchen of Four Seasons Hotel at night and had another job as teacher assistant at her culinary school. She also worked at a private cooking school entertaining Houstonians with her wit and knowledge about food. Van Hasselt truly lived and breathed food in Texas. She went to find her husband at the Four Seasons Hotel kitchen and after living, learning, and working for four years in Houston Texas they both moved to London.
In London, van Hasselt had a small stint back at the frontof the house at the Gilbert Scott but quickly realized that her passion still lay in the heart of the house: the kitchen. She quickly got hired by the Dorchester Hotel, one of the most prominent hotels of London. While working there she learned how to make many tea sandwiches for afternoon tea and run the bar kitchen usually byherself. She also learned that she was expecting her first child and unfortunately she had to stop working during her first pregnancy. A high-stress kitchen and a migraine-prone pregnant woman don’t work well together.
After giving birth and being a stay-at-home mother, she reinvented herself as a freelance recipe consultant and successfully worked together with a kid’s party business, shaping their menu and recipes. Her husband worked his way up at the Four Seasons Hotel and became banquets sous chef at the Canary Wharf Four Seasons Hotel. Van Hasselt soon followed working on the days her husband was off and flourished again being back in the kitchen while adding more skills and motherhood under her belt. She worked in several departments from banquets to restaurant kitchen and successfully managed to guide the heath and safety inspections and be an assistant to the chefs.
After four years living and working in London, the family decided to make a big move to Beijing. Joel Manchia, van Hasselt’shusband, had secured a position as restaurant chef at the Italian restaurant MIO at the Four Seasons Beijing. Van Hasselt decided to take a back seat as trailing spouse, admitting that she is the better mom and he is the better chef. However, taking the back seat has never been her best asset and she soon found a job as writer at beijingkids.
Van Hasselt has written about many subjects from motherhood, to life in Beijing, to mental health, and of course, food. She has had several articles published with her recipes in beijingkids and she searches far and wide for home cooks to be featured in the magazine. Van Hasselt has written a plethora of blogs about food and getting healthy in Beijing.
Van Hasselt is finally ready to take her experience over the last 15 years in the food and beverage industry and return to the kitchen. After Anthony Bourdain, one of the world’s greatest chefs and mentors of the culinary world ended his life, van Hasselt had a rough time. She had never personally met her mentor but she realized that Chef Bourdain was a big part of her culinary history, reading his books in culinary school and rereading them when she missed the kitchen. A light switch went off and she just knew that she had to start cooking again.
Franticly she started looking through her cookbooks and planned a new path for herself. Van Hasselt has always been a fountain of culinary information and she has thrived teaching people new skills and sharing her knowledge. Van Hasselt has a history teaching at Well Done Cooking classes in Houston, Texas and has always admired her chefs in culinary school who she assisted in the classes as a TA.
Pauline’s Cuisine is a culinary business that will focus on cooking classes for the international community in Beijing. Pauline’s Cuisine will run group classes, private events and corporate team building activities in Lido and focus on many different aspects of the culinary world like healthy cuisine, knife skills, world cuisine, baking and much more. Pauline’s Cuisine will work closely with brands in Beijing which she loves and supports.