DESIRE by Sergio Herman

02 Jul 2014
3 min read
We give you exclusive snippets from DESIRE – the limited edition sell-out book by Chef Herman – and Sergio’s interviews with Mara Grimm after service…

10.2.13 | 8 am


My dad’s illness was extremely hard to take. He taught me everything – and I mean everything. When you’ve spent every weekend and holiday in the kitchen as a child, when you’ve always accompanied your parents to restaurants and then spent nearly seven years working alongside somebody day and night, you form an intense relationship with your father. To then see him wither away…that’s agony, man. What makes it worse is that his type of dementia is hereditary. I have a fifty per cent chance of getting it too. That sends you into a blind fucking panic, you know. Whenever I forget something nowadays, I think: Oh fuck, here we go. Sometimes I get so confused, man, I start to get doubts and the thought crosses my mind: Could I have it too? But I push that thought away. I could have a test to find out if I have it. Of course I’ve thought about it but I’m not doing it, no way. My life would be over.

I became depressed right after the dementia was confirmed. You know, I’d already gone through so much shit, there had already been some tough times before my dad got ill, I couldn’t handle this as well. I used to lie awake for nights on end. It was too much of a blow, I couldn’t deal with this as well. I was in a bad place, very bad. I had doubts about everything, all day long. I have doubts all the time but back then it was out of proportion. What went through my mind at the time? I don’t want to do this any more, I can’t do it any more. I’m sick of this fucking job. Fuck off with this fucking business, I’m sick of it. That kind of stuff. At home as well, you know… pfff. I withdrew into myself, was morose… I didn’t make it easy on my wife Ellemieke, bloody hell. And that’s when tensions arise. So I had a marital crisis to deal with as well. At a certain point I weighed 93 kilos. Those are all pretty heavy things to be going through, you know. I kept going into work though, I didn’t lie in bed all day – but still. When I was at the restaurant I was able to make the switch. But it didn’t happen just like that… and what’s more: I didn’t like it, I just didn’t want to do it any more. At my lowest point I thought: if there’s a tree in the way now, then so be it.

That period lasted for one and a half years. I was in a vicious circle and I needed to get out. I started taking anti-depressants and tranquillisers. And I went to see a therapist: she treats people who perform at the highest level and deal with enormous pressure. I drove to Gorinchem every month for a few years to see her. That woman put me back on the right track, she helped me get back on top – respect. But I wasn’t ‘healed’ just like that, no. It was a much more gradual process. I got into sports, lost some weight… and that’s when the real healing process started, that’s when I began to accept my dad’s illness.

Since then it has been easier for Ellemieke to understand me and that helps. But it took a while. It wasn’t easy for her either: moving from Amsterdam to Zealand – she has had to build a whole new life here. That was hard at first. I would come home at night and she would say: “Fucking hell, do you know what time it is? Do you think that’s normal?” And I thought: Fuck, I’ve been living like this all my life. And then we would argue about that. Now she lets go more, that’s good… I also became depressed because I thought that she didn’t understand me, thought that she didn’t support me. Sometimes she says: “I hope you’ll just collapse some day, that your penny finally drops and you realise that you can’t go on like this.” But I can’t do it any other way – that’s just it: I can’t do it any other way.

Things are alright now. Since about a year… I’ve felt good for a year now. I know I have to keep up with sports, that helps. Will I ever go back to it, the bad place? Yes, I think so. Some people are more sensitive than others, me included. But right now I see things clearly again. Perhaps clearer than I’ve ever seen them. And that’s precisely why it was easier to make the decision now: I’m closing Oud Sluis.

Read more about Sergio.

The bad news: the book was sold out 24 hours after the release.

The good news: there will be a re-edition of the small book (the one with all the interviews), which will be released mid august in both Dutch and English.