From Germany to Aruba
The Legend of Josef Munzenhofer
ARUBA- (6/20/35 - 4/26/2009), Josef Munzenhofer, born in a castle in Munich, Germany was a mischievous child growing up during World War ll. He became the leader of the pack. He grew up in a little town known as Pahl,Germany. From childhood, Josef was an excellent student, smart in mathematics, good with his hands, designing and creating art pieces. Josef was asked by his teacher what he wanted to be when he grew up "I want to be a chef" he replied and the teacher remarked 'how can my best student be a chef', Josef replied "because I will never go hungry." Josef was taught about the A.B.C islands and it always stayed in his mind.
After World War ll, many people were leaving Germany to look for jobs; he had the opportunity to go to Canada as a cook.
Josef said goodbye to his mother at age 16 and left for Canada to start his journey as a Chef.
He made his way through many countries as a cook, including Switzerland, Canada, Bermuda, Venezuela. While working in Bermuda he also found another passion called spear fishing. Josef followed his dream in 1957 when he heard of an opening at Basiruti Hotel in Aruba. He made Aruba his home. While working at Basiruti he was trying to make extra income and started a farm. He was raising chickens and pigs but didn’t have any luck. After 2 years at Basiruti he went to work at the Caribbean Hotel for 10 years. Josef began showing Aruba his ability to create ice sculptures and culinary art. Josef was so special that he was asked to make an ice sculpture for the engagement of Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus. Josef knew he had a mission to accomplish, a masterpiece that will never be forgotten. It took 7 weeks, 10 hours a day to create the Queens Castle. Josef experimented with colors for the lions tongue and eyes for the castle. He was pleased with the outcome. His wish before he died was to see a photo of his creation and the family did everything to make it happen but no one could give him his last wish. He was proud about his masterpiece and told his family that once they see his ice sculpture they would in fact see the marvel of love that he built for his Queen. The family still pray's to see his 2 meter high by 6 meter long ice sculpture. In 1969 he heard the Holiday Inn was looking for a sous chef and Josef applied. The Holiday Inn opened its doors on October 25, 1969 where he worked until 1980. Holiday Inn entered Josef in many competitions and each time Josef created masterpieces and delighted the judges and the crowd with amazing structures both in ice and culinary..
Josef was part of the first Aruban free diving spear fishing team. Aruba won many competitions including the world championship of the Netherland Antilles and made history. Thanks to Josef and the team consisting of Benny Ras, Victor Tromp, Juan Vrolijk, Damasio Ras and Fanny Ras, Aruba stood out for outstanding love for the sea. Josef mastered everything he touched because he was passionate about what he loved.
In 1979, Josef Munzenhofer's dream finally became a reality as he built his restaurant stone by stone with pride with his partner Peter Dorer.
In 1980 the Buccaneer was born as Josef opened the doors of a vision which he called his masterpiece. He began the restaurant with only 80 seating’s and a 2,500 gallon aquarium, within 6 months they needed to expand. They added another addition with 7,500 gallons of saltwater tank. The restaurant began with 15 employees and now it employees 28.
In 2005 the Buccaneer celebrated 25 years of existence his words were "I am very happy to have found my 3 diamonds in my life which include finding Aruba, my family and the Buccaneer. "My family has been great supporters and has made this family business a true success." Buccaneer was built on love and now 30 years later Josef will always be remembered through his ocean blue eyes and his big heart.
“God Bless you Josef may you rest in peace.”