Hank Van Driel was born in May 1934 in Schiedam, Holland, a suburb of Rotterdam. He was six years old when the war was brought to the Netherlands and grew up during the time of German occupation. The occupation affected his family’s entire livelihood, as children went to school less, food became scarcer, and more and more time was spent inside hiding from the Germans.
When the Netherlands were finally liberated in 1945, Hank went on to go to vocational school and got into the culinary business. He worked all over Europe and on cruise lines until he decided he wanted to move to the United States. There, he met his wife, Mary Anne, pursued a successful career with Nestle, and started a family.