Day three of Identità Golose, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, is all about "them", the Flemish boys, the rising stars of Belgium's New Cuisine. A mighty passage before landing on the afternoon's gala of desserts. Although Chef Dominique Persoone, The Chocolate Line's owner, talked about cacao and his art of chocolaterie in Bruges, the other three gave us a taste of Flemish outlook on cooking.
A journalist shouted "Not for the faint-hearted", the comment was right on spot. It's a rough visual experience very far from embellishments and frills, yet, as for all things that come from a passionate point of view, it was disturbingly beautiful. In fact, Chef Kobe Desramaults of In De Wulfrestaurant, said to check his menu prior to booking a table just to make sure you are prepared to eat what he takes months to make. We are talking meats and he hacked open a boar's head live on stage: the intensity of the noise and the preparation required a Chef with a willingness to go at it like a culinary rockstar.
If you consider the dish was served inside the bones of the animal, you understand a bit of the philosophy of Kobe Desramaults. In reply, he suggested that we should know where the meat we eat (specifically and anatomically) comes from. Which we did.
It was interesting to go from the Belgian roots and woods to Chef Dominique Persoone's Mexican adventure hunt for the best cacao in the world. The audience had a try of different chocolates, colours and flavours of Mexico with the expertise of Belgium in the art of making chocolates.
Not very far from The Chocolate Line, or so we have been told, you can find the Tête Pressée(the name gives a deeper understanding of Flemish philosohy, "Squeezed Head"), Pieter Lonneville's lunch-time restaurant in Bruges. The restaurant is housed in a former butcher’s shop. It is an open kitchen with interaction between the chef and his guests.
The Michelin wave is starting to pick up on the young Flemish talents, Gert de Mangeleer is a new three-starred Michelin Chef. He transformed a wine bar into a restaurant winning success after success in seven years only. The restaurant is called Hergot Janand adopts a philosophy of local produce, handpicking vegetables, tomatoes, and associating European ingredients with the Flemish traditional way of life. To think that one of the combinations is white beer and mozzarella, is enough said.
Now a three-Michelin-star restaurant, Noma has changed, but not necessarily on the plate. According to Kenneth Foong, it's all about the way the team works, which is closer to a tech company than a traditional restaurant. Read our exclusive interview with Noma's head chef.