Brussels fine dining restaurant 65 Degrés, has been rated the ‘Top Eatery’ on Belgium’s TripAdvisor. It’s a huge win for the restaurant which is staffed almost exclusively by people with Down's Syndrome.
In a clear win for inclusion 65 Degrés beat over 2000 competitors to be named the best eatery on the TripAdvisor platform, thanks, in part, to rave reviews for the restaurant's staff, who number 15.
The restaurant was set up in 2018 as part fine dining restaurant, part social inclusion project in order to give employment opportunities to people with Down's Syndrome.
“The customers are here to see us and to savour the restaurant’s atmosphere and gastronomy,” waitress Marie-Sophie Lamarche told Reuters.
“It is a lot of pressure. We are proud of ourselves,” added Lamarche.
The restaurant’s name comes from the perfect temperature at which to cook eggs and was set up by four entrepreneurs with backgrounds social care and catering and serves high-end French cuisine in Brussel’s hip Chatelain district.
Dishes on the menu at 65 Degrés include filet de merlan, spaghettis de pommes de terre and magret de canard (seared duck breast with honey) as well as an array of delicious desserts and a drinks menu that includes coffee and alcohol.
“We work with people who are so happy to be working, so they have this pleasure of coming to work every day,” co-founder Valentin Cogels told Reuters.
“You can go to any very nice gastronomic restaurant, you’ll have probably good service, you’ll have obviously very good food,” said Cogels. “We work with people who are so happy to be working, they have this pleasure of coming to work every day, and they are so honest and so transparent that when they ask somebody — ‘how was your day today?’ — they really mean it when they ask.”
The success of 65 Degrés is not only good for inclusion but proves social gastronomy is also good for business.