Search

×

Belgian pragmatism in a globalized world

It seems like a strange new upside down world. Have you noticed how many chefs and restaurateurs start to plan to duplicate their restaurant, to export it or to franchise it before they have even opened the first one or operated it for a while?

On one side, nobody can argue that our global chef icons and brands are inspiring a new generation of chefs. And this is being largely facilitated by easy access to information and by a fantastic attraction from the public for culinary and entrepreneurial experiences (just check the number of TV shows and articles in any newspapers).

On the other side, I am somewhat afraid that it might also have a bad influence on some of our youngest and most talented chefs. Walking before running, isn’t it?

Interior of La Buvette, Brussels, a former shop dedicated to mushrooms (the same owner is also having a restaurant dedicated to just mushrooms called “Café des Spores”).
Interior of La Buvette, Brussels, a former shop dedicated to mushrooms (the same owner is also having a restaurant dedicated to just mushrooms called “Café des Spores”).

In Brussels, I recently found the essence of our business, with a great young chef with high technical skills running La Buvette, a fantastic bistro. In an interview he said: “For us restaurateurs, we have to avoid loosing and fooling ourselves. My priority is this restaurant. The rest can be a source of ’emmerdes’ (sorry for my French).”

On the cover of the menu. And on the website “Ni Paris, Ni New York, ni London, ni Tokyo,….ni Saint Tropez!”
On the cover of the menu. And on the website “Ni Paris, Ni New York, ni London, ni Tokyo,….ni Saint Tropez!”

Talking with the restaurant manager, I learned that they are not necessarily looking to duplicate, franchise or think “international.” Not at all! With some pragmatism, humility and pride for their city and their restaurant job, they are simply happy to be in Brussels.

To a point where they – with a Belgian’s dry sense of humor – state on the menu: “Brussels. Neither Knokke, Nor Tokyo, Nor Paris!”

And I love it!

Culinary regards from Brussels…

Comment