The best young chef in the Benelux is a Belgian


Frederic Chastro from the restaurant Sõma in Antwerp can now call himself the best young chef in the Benelux for a whole year.

The 29-year old chef won the Benelux final of the ‘S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2018’, which was held this year in The Hague. Chastro beat the other nine finalists with his signature dish ‘roll of Belgian rabbit, offal and cerebellum, organic endives and a tangy sauce based on dark beer’. The recipe was required to respect the competition's five golden rules: ingredients, skills, genius, aesthetics and passing on a message. The jury featured top chefs such as Peter Goossens, David Martin, Ron Blaauw, Jaimie van Heije and René Matthieu.

Furthermore, Chastro was not the only Belgian to win an award: Matteo Vannini from the Brussels restaurant Da Mimmo took the silver medal and Loucas Mengal from L’Eveil des Sens in Montigny-le-Tilleul won bronze: so the podium was bursting with Belgians in fact. Chastro will go on to represent the Benelux in June 2018 at the world final, to be held in Milan.

Frederic Chastro, who has French-Colombian roots, has been running his own restaurant in Antwerp since June 2017, together with his Belgian-Greek girlfriend Adriana Zafiris. In Sõma, dishes are served with ingredients from their four countries of origin. The duo was previously recognised as 'Jeunes Talents' by the restaurant guide Gault & Millau for their work in the kitchen at the bistro L’Arsenic in Lyon.