On 1 June, one of Belgium’s most talented chefs Kobe Desramaults returns to cook after a sabbatical following the closure of his Gent restaurant Chambre Séparée. He will be cooking at Stazione Vucciria in Finale di Pollina. That will be temporary until he and his new business partners Franco Virgo and Stefania Milano, restaurant entrepreneurs in Sicily that are slowly putting the Italian island on the food map look for a new place in the Madonie mountains also in Sicily.
The news that Kobe Desramaults would be settling in Sicily does not come as a surprise. In the past months, anyone following the Belgian chef on social media and particularly Instagram could see that he was spending more and more time in Italy and more particularly Sicily and he was particularly fascinated about the produce on the Sicilian island in particular the fish market of Catania.
At Stazione Vucciria, a stone throw away from the sea, Kobe will present his distinct Nordic cuisine using Sicilian products. What has made Kobe’s style distinct is his terroir based approach to cooking, something that he will replicate in this pop-up restaurant.
The menu has not yet been set but there will be 50 outdoor covers and a chef’s table for 8 to 10 people and another area where Kobe will be able to create a carte blanche menu for 7 to 8 people.
Two years ago, soon after the reopening from the first lockdown after the start of the pandemic, Kobe had told me and Andrea Petrini when we stopped for dinner at Chambre Séparée that after the planned closure of that restaurant he wanted to restart from somewhere else. At that point he did not know where but he was thinking about either Italy or the south west of France. Over the past months he has taken the time to visit various places to see where he will eventually settle and restart from scratch. That choice has fallen on Sicily.
The Belgian chef rose to fame with In de Wulf, an iconic restaurant that was one of the most sought after restaurants in the world. At In de Wulf, he created a destination restaurant in the middle of nowhere in the fields of Flanders close to the French border. That restaurant made it to the top lists of the world including the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Opinionated about Dining among others.
After closure, he settled for Chambre Séparée, a restaurant with a time limit where he served only a tasting menu for 2 hours cooking purely with fire. In Gent, he also operates De Superette, a very successful bakery and restaurant.
When the restaurant closes on 31 October, the trio will start working on the ‘proper’ restaurant. For the time being they are still looking for the place but once that’s done, they will determine what’s to come next. What’s for sure is that Sicily may have been a food-lovers little secret. Not for much longer. Expect world-foodies to make Sicily one of the next top food destinations.