Jan Hendrik’s mother reveals precious memories she has of him
We often reflect on the amazing women who have shaped us into the people we are today. While Jan Hendrik’s grandmother is often credited with sparking his passion for cuisine, his mother, Hester van der Westhuizen, played a pivotal role in laying the foundation and giving him the freedom to flourish into the man he is today. Her love and support have been instrumental in Jan Hendrik’s journey to success. From her special Mother’s Day memories to how she stays in touch with her busy son – join Hessie as she reveals precious memories of Jan Hendrik.
How do you make time to stay in touch and connected with Jan Hendrik, given his busy schedule and demanding career?
We talk fairly often, about three times a week, but Jan Hendrik messages me almost every day, just so that I know where he is and if he’s safe. He also makes an effort to make time for a nice long chat once a week.
What are your fondest memories of him as a child? Are there any special Mother’s Day memories perhaps? How did he make special days like these unforgettable?
When he was still living at home, he always wanted to surprise us with breakfast in bed or a beautifully set tray with my finest china and my favourite breakfast foods – whether it was Mother’s Day (or even Father’s Day with his dad) or our birthdays. Whenever it got quiet while he was in the kitchen, I just knew. I appreciated it so much and stayed out of the kitchen because I knew something was ‘cooking’. But probably the most special thing was the letters. There was always a letter or a card in which he would say how much he loved us and thanked us for all the support.
What about after he left home? How did he make these days special?
When he started studying and earning some money, he flew me down to spend two or three days with him for Mother’s Day at Zevenwacht where he was studying. Here, he stayed in a small staff cottage underneath a Bloekom tree. To this day, that small little cottage reminds me of Boscia – and even Veepos. Whenever I visit either Klein JAN or JAN Franschhoek, I see Jan Hendrik’s first place in the Cape where he stayed on and started collecting his own furniture.
Last year, he arranged for my best friend and I to go on a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea. This year, for Mother’s Day as well as my birthday, Jan Hendrik booked me a ticket to Italy for a special trip with him.
This year, we are offering a special Mother’s Day Gift voucher on JANonline.com. Let’s do a bit of online window shopping. What are some of the must-have items you would suggest to your best friend should she receive one of these online gift vouchers?
What a lovely idea! I would definitely say those Blanc Noir cups and saucers. Opt for the set of four. They make a wonderful gift. And the decorative oyster shells; those are very cute, and they go really well with the salt and pepper holders. I also really like Jan Hendrik’s bath salts and body scrubs. But, I would spice up the gift with some good candles and a bottle of JAN wine. Good music, good wine, good conversation about fond memories and a warm bath afterwards: That sounds like a lovely gift to me.
The JAN Lap range is also so cute and practical – and such good quality. Even the blue striped glass cloths. Because I don’t have a dishwasher, I have to polish my glasses and view them in the light when Jan Hendrik comes to visit, so those cloths are really the answer for me. And of course my favourite: The salt and pepper grinders. The wood is gorgeous, and they aren’t too heavy to handle.
The JAN cutlery range is also a great gift: The knives, the forks, the cake forks and the teaspoons… They are just gorgeous. And what’s nice about these is if you buy some of these for your friend, you can always add on later. Maybe the serving set for Mother’s Day, then something else like the cutlery set for her birthday until she has a beautiful collection herself.
Recently, you flew down to attend the special Mother’s Day High Tea at House of JAN in Cape Town. Can you give us the inside scoop?
It was amazing! We were spoiled with lovely food, bubbles, make-up touch-ups, a floral arrangement demonstration from Blomboy, and a lovely gift bag. Then Jan Hendrik decorated a Forage and Feast New York Style Cheesecake for us. That cheesecake was so creamy and soft – so delicious. And what I loved about it is you don’t need to be a professional chef to impress your guests. You can make it your own and decorate it as you like, and it’s easy and quick to serve. I’d suggest decorating it with chocolates, maybe some caramel sugar pieces, caramel-coated popcorn, as well as fresh berries and figs.
Speaking of Forage and Feast, are there any other products you got to taste that you’d recommend?
As part of the event, we got about five dishes. From Forage and Feast sun-dried tomato pesto on macarons to a lovely selection of cheeses – especially their aged cheeses and cheese spreads. The Caramel-coated popcorn is so, so good. Once you start, you just can’t stop. And their assorted chocolates are also very tasty. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate, but boy, theirs is very good. But my favourite was the cranberry and almond nougat. It reminds me of my mom, Jan’s grandmother. She loved nougat, and she would have really enjoyed these too. She usually served ice cream with chopped nougat sprinkled on top – I just grate mine coarsely on top.
What did you take away from this event?
I’ll tell you, I know Jan Hendrik is busy, but after my recent visit, I realised: He is really busy. It made me think: So many people say to live a full life means adulting, being full of love and persevering, maybe having a bit of a full body. But I think Jan Hendrik is truly a full human being. He is full of patience, full of joy and full of passion. He is full of gratitude, love and enthusiasm. I really think he’s full of the fruit of the Spirit. After spending this special time with him, I realised he has a passion for what he does and he has a zest for life. That is truly remarkable.
Hessie’s Forage and Feast recommendations
Frozen New York Style
Indulge in a scrumptious New York style cheesecake, handcrafted and prepared locally and made with premium cream cheese to obtain its delicious flavour.
Toffee Caramel and Chocolate Drizzled
Locally handcrafted, this traditionally kettle popped corn is coated with toffee-flavoured caramel and drizzled with
Belgian milk chocolate.
Cranberry And Almond
These nougat bites are perfect for a special occasion and make the perfect indulgence, handcrafted locally with responsibly
Assorted Chocolate Selection
Spoil someone special with this chocolate selection box, which includes a variety of milk, white and dark chocolates handcrafted and locally made.