The Flemish Food Bash turned out to be a huge celebration of gastronomy and fun. Despite a stormy start and heavy rain, the day came to a lovely end as chefs, pastry-chefs, butchers, cocktail masters, bakers and cheese masters among others brought a smile to the thousands who turned up at Oostduinkerke, Koksijde on the Belgian coast.
Driving from Brussels on Sunday morning was easy which is not always the case on the weekend in the direction of the North Sea. The weather forecast looked threatening but then again it had been the same for the past few days with no signs of any storm after the unusual hot spell.
It started to drizzle as I arrived but it did not look threatening in the beginning. But by 1pm, it was pouring and the two large tents which were aimed to house the chefs ended up being not only a shelter from the rain but also a stand-up restaurant for the people present.
I was near Heinz Beck (above), three Michelin star chef of La Pergola in Rome when we heard the first loud thunder. He was trying to plate his pasta dish but the heavy rain meant he needed to move the food prep to another corner and serve his dish to people inside. I asked him if these were the most challenging cooking conditions he has ever experienced and he replied with a smile that ‘it’s all part of the fun. You just need to adapt to the conditions.”
Beck prepared gnocchetti with grana padano cheese and smoked potato served on a bed of pea puree and lime marinated shrimps.
The first service started at 1pm and included the young Japanese chef Atsushi Tanaka of Restaurant A.T. in Paris. Sang-Hoon Degeimbre’s team from L’Air du Temps (including San himself) were giving this chef a helping hand. Tanaka prepared smoked tuna with kohlrabi pickles.
Stephane Diffels from L’Air de Rien was there with a huge team and told me “we were coming all together to experience the festival and we only got to know at the last minute that we would participate. So a team of 11 people were working on the creation of a well executed dish. He prepared a dish with trout, herbed granita, a herb emulsion and a dill mayonnaise.
The event, in its second edition, was organised by Vincent Florizoone of Grand Cabaret.
Flemish Food Bash allowed visitors the possibility to mingle and view some great chefs and their teams working in an informal environment.
At the end, it was an event to remember. Those who stayed till late were treated to a splendid sunset. What else could one wish for?
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