New Michelin star record for Belgium
The new 2015 Michelin guide for Belgium and Luxembourg features 137 restaurants with star ratings. That makes five more than in 2014, which was already a record. Ten Belgian restaurants are awarded their first star.
The three Belgian three-star restaurants, Hof van Cleve (Kruishoutem), De Karmeliet (Bruges) and Hertog Jan (Zedelgem), keep their top rating. The category with two-star restaurants remains unchanged: no newcomers, but no losses. This biggest changes are amongst the one-star restaurants with six losses and ten newcomers.
The newcomers are ‘The Jane’ (Antwerp) from three-star chef Sergio Herman, ‘Publiek’ (Ghent) from Flemish Foody Olly Ceulenaer, D’oude Pastorie (Lochristi), Philippe Meyers (Braine-l’Alleud), Le Monde est Petit (Ittre), Le Pigeon Noir (Uccle), Da Mimmo (Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe), Aux petits oignons (Jodoigne), Héliport Brasserie (Liège) and Les Pieds dans le Plat (Hotton).
Chefs who are masters in their local cuisine are popular. Michael Ellis, international director for the guide, says that no-nonsense cuisine is alive and kicking. "Once again, people are choosing to let their top ingredients do the talking, without unnecessary further processing. Chefs go for generosity and rich flavours without too many frills. In brief: it's back to basics".
The guide also acknowledges 159 Bib Gourmand restaurants. The criteria for consideration is a selection menu priced below 37 euro, irrelevant of the style of cooking, but with seasonal products as the main focus. Each year the number of businesses with a Bib Gourmand grows, and this year an amazing 34 newcomers came on board.