Belgium confirms its status as a top culinary country


At the presentation of the Michelin Guide 2016 for Belgium and Luxembourg, the year 2016 came out as a 'vintage' culinary year for Belgium; a multitude of new stars were awarded. There are no fewer than 3 new two-star restaurants and 8 new one-star restaurants! In total, Belgium now has 130 restaurants with one or more Michelin stars.

Not much has changed at the top: the restaurants Hof Van Cleve, De Karmeliet and Hertog Jan retain their elite status with 3 stars. There are three newcomers among the two-star restaurants: La Villa in the Sky (Brussels), D'Eugènie à Emilie (Baudour) and The Jane Antwerp (Antwerp). Eight restaurants were awarded one star: Alexandre (Brussels), dEssensi (’s Gravenwezel), Bistrot du Nord (Antwerpen), Philippe Fauchet (Saint-Georges-sur-Meuse), Le Pilori (Ecaussinnes-Lalaing), Le Comptoir de Marie (Mons), Alain Bianchin (Overijse) and Danny (Maasmechelen).

Just 6 restaurants lost their star and this was due to closure or a change of format. Va Doux Vent (Uccle), d’Hoogh (Mechelen) and Ciccio (Knokke) shut up shop, Lijsterbes (Berlare) and Vous lé Vous (Hasselt) changed their formats. The star for chef Danny Vanderhoven was immediately reissued for his new location in Maasmechelen.

International director Michael Ellis has noted three trends within Belgian cuisine over the past year. First and foremost, a young generation of chefs are setting up their own restaurants having completed their training under leading chefs and this is leading to improvements in gastronomic quality. Chefs are also increasingly keen to work with local products and the restaurants themselves are designed to be much more casual.

In order to be included in the famous Michelin Guide, 5 elements have to be assessed: the quality of the products, the expertise of the chef, the personality of the cuisine, the price/quality ratio, and consistency, both over time and through the menu.