As a child in Holland, Nulle survived World War II and its aftermath, even after the country was sure it was safe because of its neutral status. He vividly recalls watching the small Dutch Army shooting at low-flying German planes, and his duty to post messages to the public from Queen Wilhelmina. He was only 8 years old at the time. His father was in the Dutch Resistance, which got him involved with the postings.
Because of this, he was sought by the German SS, Adolf Hitler's elite group of henchmen. Some were natives of Holland who became traitors to the country by collaborating with the Germans. He laughs as he remembers those men looking for "a little blonde-headed boy," referring to himself.
When asked what they would have done to him if they caught up to him, he says, "I don't know. They would have shot me, I don't know."
Getting away from the SS
He was sent to live with a family in Venhuizen in northern Holland while things cooled down in Ryswyk, a suburb of The Hague, where he was born and lived in south Holland. He went to get away from the danger of the SS.
"Things were getting so bad," Nulle says.
When he returned home from Venhuizen, he continued to post messages, and things continued to get worse. He was sent once again to northern Holland, but this time to Friesland, farther north. While there, he became homesick and had heard rumors that Ryswyk was bombed. Fortunately, his parents survived the attack.
"There was always a lot of fighting going on," he says.
Arrangements were made so that Nulle would ride a potato trailer back home to check on his family. While on his way home to south Holland, the trailer he was riding in came under German fire.
He remembers walking miles to a farm on the west side of south Holland with his sister to get food, only to have it taken away and thrown in the river by German soldiers. "My mother was so mad we didn't have anything."
They could have ridden their bicycles if the Germans hadn't taken them away. He says they weren't allowed to have cameras, radios, copper or bicycles, which was particularly bad because bicycles were and still are a major means of transportation for people of Holland.
In 1944, signs that the war was ending started to become evident. "That was the most wonderful time," he says. "We celebrated we were free."
"Hungry winter" of 1944
But a new non-combative battle began in Holland. It was the "hungry winter" of 1944. "I was skin over bones from the hunger," Nulle says.
He has watched documentaries on the History Channel and says watching from that perspective shows him how bad it really was. The Marshall Plan came out right after the war was over, and Nulle said it was the first time his family saw white bread in years.
Children from Holland who were in the worst shape after the war and brutal winter were flown to a camp close to Aberdeen, UK, to recuperate. Nulle didn't stay long. He became sick with dyptheria and was transported for quarantine to Aberdeen until he was well.
Nulle was 14 when he started on his way to becoming a successful cook and baker. He went to a school during the evening and worked during the day at a bakery that delivered goods to Queen Juliana. When he turned 18, he had to go to the army, where he served the minimum one and a half years required.
Out of the army, he started incorporating his cooking into the hotel business. He became the assistant chef at a hotel in Italy, then went back to The Hague to work as a chef at another hotel. He met his wife, Thea, about that time, and she became pregnant and gave birth to their first daughter, Petra.
When his daughter was about a year old, Nulle got an assistant chef's job in Ghana, Africa, and the three of them went there together. He ended up getting kicked out of Africa a year early for detesting communism.
David Frisch sponsored him
He started applying for jobs here and there when he came across an ad from the American Embassy. He didn't realize that he would be working for the founder of Frisch's Big Boy, David Frisch. Frisch became his sponsor and friend.