Posts Tagged ‘Flanders’



I am interested for four years by the emergence of some Flemish chefs. Initially I saw it as some “Électrons libres” in the Kingdom of Belgium, but after my first (2-3) interviews with Filip Claeys, Kobe Desramaults, Gert De Mangeleer, I understood that it was much more … Beyond the media trend to always seek “the Next Big Thing”, there are actually in Flanders a lot of creativity, an uniqueness and a willingness by the chefs to highlight an often overlooked “terroir”.

Many of these chefs have done an internship at Oud Sluis restaurant (chef Sergio Herman) but the chef Michael Vrijmoed comes rather from the other school, that of great chef Peter Goossens (Hof Van Cleve). It is after eight years as Sous chef at Hof Van Cleve that this young chef (33 years old) decided to open his own restaurant, Vrijmoed in Ghent. Besides his talent and his creativity, it is this longevity that struck me, it is rare to see in 2013 a young chef stay as long in a restaurant!

Vrijmoed loves its “terroir” and it is perceived in its plates. The dishes are originals, technical, complex and simple in same time. This simplicity in appearance rather reflects a harmonic complexity that finds its influences everywhere. There are a few things of Pascal Barbot in his “cuisine”, just a feeling!

There is another school in Flanders equally talented and dedicated to the unique “terroir”! Try Vrijmoed and Ghent before this city became a must in June 2013!


Q+A WITH MICHAËL VRIJMOED (www.vrijmoed.be):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

MVrijmoed– A pure “cuisine” where we follow the seasons. We start with the search of a good (honest) product and we create a dish without overloading it with to many ingredients.

2-(Scoffier) You worked almost 8 years as sous chef for one of the most important restaurants in Belgium, Hof van Cleve. What have you learned with the chef Peter Goossens?

MVrijmoed– That was as 8 years of exploring and learning about the products, techniques. I learned to know Peter Goossens himself and myself…

3-(Scoffier) Why did you decide to open your own restaurant now (2013)?

MVrijmoed– It was a dream for a long time to open one day my own restaurant and to do “my things” but I waited for the good moment, when I would be ready in all aspects.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

MVrijmoed– The smell or taste of a fresh baked bread is something that I adore, we make our own bread in the restaurant and will keep doing that for the future for that reason.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

MVrijmoed– I like acidity or the use of citrus in my dishes.

6-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires in your career?

MVrijmoed– For sure Peter Goossens was one of these persons. But also Guy Van Cauteren who closed his restaurant this year (after almost 40 years) where I really learned “what’s cooking”.

There are other chefs that touched me with their “cuisine” including Michel Bras, Pascal Barbot and of course many others!

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

MVrijmoed– I start with the “main ingredient” of a dish and I think to how I would love to eat it. Next step is thinking what are the seasonal products who would improve the dish.

8-(Scoffier) I had the chance to interview some talented young Flemish chefs, the restaurant scene looks very original and singular in Flanders (I think at Bruges, Ghent…). How do you explain that?

MVrijmoed– I think it’s true that we have some really talented young chefs in Belgium, who (may be the most important) do their own “cuisine” and give a 100% in their work all the time.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or one that you like now) that is characterized the cuisine of Michaël Vrijmoed?

MVrijmoedRecipe: Confits of pork cheeks, goose liver, roasted spring onions and “saltcrustbaked” cevenne onions.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for Restaurant Vrijmoed?

MVrijmoed– Keep on going as we do now, two (2) months after the opening: make the people happy with “la cuisine” we do!


RECIPE: Confits of Pork Cheeks, Goose Liver, Roasted Spring Onions & “Saltcrustbaked” Cevenne Onions.

No Instruction. A little secret even as the restaurant has just opened!


Vlaanderenstraat 22
9000 Ghent


1. Alle Dagen Honger site (Review in Flemish), May 5, 2013

2. Le Figaro “Gand Gourmand”, March 16, 2013

3. Flanders Today (Review), March 20, 2013

© Credits for photos at Restaurant Vrijmoed.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

Davy Schellemans is another hyper talented young chefs native of Flanders. Just in his early thirties, he opened his own restaurant last year (26 seats) in Antwerp after have been (among others) the Sous chef of Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf), one of the leaders of this movement flemish (Flemish Foodies). Indeed, it is created in this corner of Belgium, a cuisine intense, personalized and highly creative.

Schellemans have a unique menu of five courses (just 45 euros) which change weekly or biweekly depending on the product and seasons. This “menu” will allow him to focus on the finish and the essence of the products and the flavors. The first time we see “sa cuisine”, we understand immediately that this chef has a unique vision and creativity in the kitchen without blinkers and without limit.

A singular chef with an environmental conscience to follow in the coming years!


1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your “cuisine” at Veranda?

DSchellemans– I don’t have a philosophy, just want to serve good food and let people have a nice evening. For me “good food” is not too complicated, neither technical but made with love.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DSchellemans– A flavour not really, more a smell.The smell of fresh tomatoes is something I will never forget.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DSchellemans– For me, acidity and texture are really important. These are two (2) things you will find always in my dishes.

4-(Scoffier) You worked as Sous chef of chef Kobe Desramaults, what you learned at the restaurant In de Wulf? Is there any other people who inspired you in the kitchen?

DSchellemans– Kobe gave me the drive and many other chefs are inspiring me but at the end, it is really important to do your own things.

5-(Scoffier) Seen from outside, there is real effervescence in Flanders and several creative young chefs. Do you perceive this movement and the energy?

DSchellemans– Many young chefs are opening restaurants with a very personal approach where food is always the most important, something that I really like! Every person is unique and that should reflect in the dishes and the atmosphere.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes for your menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

DSchellemans– My most important sources are my suppliers. They reach me the products and I have to bring them together. I don’t think too long about new dishes, I just start cooking, taste, and then fine tune…

7-(Scoffier) In the book of Kobe (Desramaults), he talks a lot of regional producers, is it easy for you to find “all” locally?

DSchellemans– Herbs, vegetables and fish from the north sea is quite easy to find but my meat still comes from France. The hype right now is “local”, before it was “molecular” and therefore “fusion”. My point is that every chef has to do what he has to do.

8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Veranda (& Davy Schellemans)?

DSchellemansRecipe: Chinese Broccoli with pickled Onions, cream of Lemon, Chioggia Beets and fresh Herbs.

9-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

DSchellemans– My goal is to give people a nice evening every single day and to develop my style of cooking but most of all to enjoy what I am doing!

RECIPE: Chinese Broccoli with pickled Onions, cream of Lemon, Chioggia Beets and fresh Herbs



Ingredients (4 pers)

-12 chinese broccoli
-30 cl soy sauce
-10 cl Yuzu juice
-4 lemon peel
-10 cl lemon juice
-10 cl sugar water
-1 beetroot sliced
-Olive oil
-Red wine vinegar
-4 young onions
-40 g alcohol vinegar
-200 g sugar water

To finish (to taste)*:

-Spinach – Amaranth – Citrus tagetes (branch + leaf) – Nasturtium – Roasted sunflower seeds.


1. Cook the broccoli and let cool immediately in ice water. Warm before serving in soy sauce with yuzu juice.

2. Cook the sauce for the lemon peel 3 times after each other, change the water every time. Mix with lemon juice and sugar water.

3. Marinate the beetroot in a mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

4. Cook the onions in a mixture of sugar water and alcohol vinegar.

5. Divide the broccoli and beet slices on a plate and garnish with the sauce and spinach, amaranth, citrus tagetes, nasturtium and sunflower seeds.


VERANDA/Chef-owner Davy Schellemans
Guidenvliesstraat 60
2600 Anvers (Belgium)
Phone: +32 (0) 3 218 55 95


1. Video about Davy Schellemans by FrenchfoodTV, March 2011
2. Review by Gilles Pudlowski, December 2011
3. Interview, A Point Magazine #16, Printemps 2012
4. To taste the cuisine of Davy Schellemans in North America, it will be the guest of chef Dominique Crenn, November 9th (Omnivore Food Festival San Francisco).

NOTE: Credit for the photos: Charlie De Keersmaecker (Portrait), Roos Mest Dagh (Food)

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2012

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Les Électrons Libres sont des chefs qui individuellement ou à l’intérieur d’un groupe ont choisi une voie unique qui va au-delà de leur processus d’apprentissage. Leur philosophie et leur pratique transforme la cuisine actuelle et future dans une région ou un pays donné. Ils font quelques fois partie intégrante d’un mouvement mais très souvent ils font cavalier seul. J’avais présenté au début de cette Série un jeune chef, Filip Claeys et je voulais vous présenter depuis longtemps d’autres chefs émergents des Flandres, une des régions les plus dynamiques du moment. Voici le chef Gert De Mangeleer:

Malgré leur jeune âge, Gert De Mangeleer et son collègue/sommelier Joachim Boudens ont déjà fait du Restaurant Hertog Jan un incontournable, un lieu de fine cuisine où priment la pureté et le respect du produit. Le chef De Mangeleer est un pur produit des Flandres. Né en 1977, il a étudié à l’École d’Hôtellerie Supérieure avant de faire ses classes dans certains restaurants de Bruges. C’est finalement en 2002 qu’il entre chez Hertog Jan pour ne plus en ressortir! Depuis 2005, il est propriétaire de la place avec son collègue Boudens. Son credo Simplicity Is Not Simple. Et pour mieux alimenter ce credo, sa cuisine et ses créations, Hertog Jan possède depuis peu une ferme historique qui alimente le restaurant en produits de haute qualité.

En voyant la cuisine de Gert De Mangeleer, on perçoit bien le mot simplicité et surtout la recherche de la pureté du produit. Mais on comprend également que derrière cette cuisine se cache une complexité, une recherche d’équilibres harmoniques et un artisan qui a travaillé longtemps son produit afin d’arriver au résultat escompté.

Une cuisine lumineuse, d’équilibre et de finesse par un chef au sommet de son art…pour plusieurs années!

Q+A WITH GERT DE MANGELEER (www.hertog-jan.com ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

GDeMangeleer– Ma cuisine est basée sur la simplicité dans tous les sens; sa beauté, son harmonie, sa ligne, sa pureté. Ses caractéristiques sont le respect pour la nature, la qualité des produits et le terroir dans ses cinq dimensions.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

GDeMangeleer- J’adorais la cuisine de ma mère. C’est sans doute son influence qui m’a motivé à devenir cuisinier. Ses croustillons étaient mes favoris, et aussi son pain de veau aux cerises.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

GDeMangeleer- J’aime travailler avec les acides fruités et les vinaigres. L’acidité est la colonne vertébrale d’un plat, comme pour un vin d’ailleurs.


4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

GDeMangeleer- Non, c’est surtout la nature, mes collaborateurs autour de moi avec lesquels j’ai une relation très solide et ma famille qui m’inspirent.

5-(Scoffier) I had the chance to discuss with Chef Filip Claeys (De Jonkman) about the Flanders and the progression of a unique gastronomy. Can you describe the restaurant’s scene and the progression of the gastronomy in Flanders (according to you)?

GDeMangeleer- Je pense qu’autour de Bruges nous avons la plus grande concentration de haute gastronomie qui existe sur une telle petite surface. Grâce à une nouvelle génération de jeunes cuisiniers qui sont très motivés, qui bougent constamment, qui explorent et ne cessent de se perfectionner. Pour un habitant des Flandres, du nord de France, du sud d’Hollande et même d’Angleterre et d’Allemagne, il y a une panoplie de possibilités culinaires qui méritent vraiment une visite. Malheureusement, ils nous manquent quelques bonnes adresses dans la catégorie des brasseries, exception de De Kruidenmolen (Klemskerke) et Brasserie Bristol (Heist).

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu at your restaurant?

GDeMangeleer- L’harmonie est le mot central dans mes recettes et menus. Pour y arriver, j’utilise toutes les techniques qui sont disponibles, à conditions qu’ils soulignent et respectent le produit de base. Le vrai jeu est celui de jouer avec l’équilibre, la sucrosité, l’acidité (très important dans ma cuisine), l’amertume, la salinité, la texture, le croquant, la température, le moelleux. Il faut déjà plus d’une vie à maîtriser tous ça. J’invite les gens à utiliser tous les sens en dégustant mes menus. La vue, par exemple, est le premier contact. La présentation donne une première impression comme introduction pour les autre sens. Le plat doit ainsi d’ores et déjà exprimer la légèreté et la fraîcheur de ma cuisine, les couleurs de la saison, la complexité des goûts, l’authenticité des produits.

7-(Scoffier) How do you marry the wine with your cuisine (it inspires you)? And before to create, do you talk with your partner and sommelier Joachim Boudens?

GDeMangeleer- Peut-être que ceci est un de nos points forts, l’harmonie entre mets et vins. C’est un des défis les plus difficiles à réussir dans notre métier. Heureusement pour moi, je suis très gâté sur ce point, car mon partenaire à Hertog Jan, Joachim Boudens, est le meilleur sommelier de Belgique. Chez nous à Hertog Jan, c’est vraiment un travail de symbiose entre plat et vin. C’est aussi dans ce contexte que la carte des vins est composée. Pour chaque plat, il y a un ou plusieurs vins qui s’y marient et vice versa. Et la carte des vins évolue constamment au fur et à mesure que les menus évoluent.

8-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which?

GDeMangeleer- Je ne suis absolument pas un disciple de la cuisine moléculaire. Si la machine ou la technique n’apporte pas une valeur ajoutée, pas question que je l’utilise. D’autre part, c’est grâce aux scientifiques comme Bernard Lahousse de Sense for Taste, que nous avons appris à travailler d’une autre manière, à la recherche de la meilleure manière pour exprimer un produit, son côté le plus pur, le plus juste.

9-(Scoffier) You are the co-author of the book Le Marchand du Sel, a really different book. What is the concept behind the book?

GDeMangeleer- En fait, ce que Joachim et moi voulions faire avec cette publication, c’est de donner aux gens la possibilité de mieux nous connaître, de mieux comprendre notre motivation et de mieux partager notre passion pour notre métier. Qu’est-ce qui est plus beau que de pouvoir regarder à l’intérieur des produits, de lire des phrases à la fois poétiques et sensuelles qui décrivent le plat qu’on est en train de déguster. Pour ce faire, nous nous sommes entourés de personnes passionnées comme nous dans leur spécialité. Le résultat est différent, comme nul autre, mais chérit notre vision, notre âme en respect avec notre slogan: ‘La simplicité n’est pas simple’

10-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Gert De Mangeleer and Restaurant Hertog Jan?

GDeMangeleer– Recette: Crisp home grown cherry tomato salad, African marigold and iced sour tomato broth

11-(Scoffier) What are your goal (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write another book, a television show, others?

GDeMangeleer- Quand Joachim et moi on a repris Hertog Jan de Guido, Il y a cinq ans de maintenant, nous avons bien défini nos objectifs. Nous avons choisis d’aller pour le niveau gastronomique le plus haut possible. Après cinq ans, nous avons atteint les 2** Michelin et 18/20 GaultMillau. C’est maintenant le moment d’investir dan l’avenir. Dans cet esprit, nous avons acheté une ferme monumentale du 17ième siècle, classée historique, à quelques km d’ici. C’est là que nous allons essayer de réaliser notre rêve professionnel, le walhalla gastronomique dans toute sa simplicité.

RECIPE: Crisp Home Grown Cherry Tomato Salad, African Marigold & Iced Sour Tomato Broth



-Different kinds of cherry tomatoes (10 pieces per person).

-White cherry

-Black cherry

-Green grape

-Isis candy

-Olive tomato


-Tigerette tomato

-1 kg fleshy tomatoes

-10 grams sea salt

-Japanese pickled ginger (sushi ginger)

-100 grams fresh goats cheese (eventually chavroux)

-12 sour onions

-African marigold in 3 colors (facultative)

-Olive oil

-Maldon salt


1. Rinse the tomatoes and peel them.

2. Cut the flesh tomatoes in 4 and mix, add salt and drain in a muslin. Keep the clear tomato juice in the refrigerator until ice cold.

3. Flatten the goats cheese together with some salt until you get a creamy texture and rub through a sieve.

4. Mince the ginger and slice the onions.


1. Arrange in a deep plate.

2. Put a circle of the goats cheese cream in the plate, then arrange the tomatoes interlacing, so the different colors come to full advantage.

3. Put a little ginger on half of the tomatoes and 3 African marigold flowers.

4. Season with sea salt and olive oil.

5. Serve the tomato juice separately at the table.


-Restaurant Hertog Jan/Chef Gert De Mandeleer + Sommelier Joachim Boudens

Torhoutsesteenweg 479,

8200 Bruges, Belgique


-LIVRE/BOOK: Le Marchand du Sel, www.marchanddusel.be


1. Les Fulgurances (Vidéo), 23 Mars 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1wnSKVaPak&feature=player_embedded

2. QLI (review), 11 Mars 2011, http://www.qliweb.com/food/_hertog_jan

3. Flemish Primitive 2011, Focus wtv (Vidéo), 26 Mars 2011, http://www.focus-wtv.tv/programma/tendens-goesting/tendens-goesting-vanuit-londen

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2011

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