The award is a deserved accolade for the self-taught chef who brought molecular gastronomy to Belgium. The Belgian-Korean chef cooked professionally for the first time on the day of the opening of his restaurant and had told Food and Wine Gazette that this was the ‘biggest bluff of his life.”
In an interview with Food and Wine Gazette last year, he had said “cooking without any training means that you have no boundaries. When you are at school, you learn to follow a right way. They give you recipes which you have to follow and you do not have time to reflect on why you are doing something. Being self-taught means that you are constantly asking questions. When you are not in the kitchen, you start to question why something must be done in a particular way. In the kitchen you try different things, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but you are not constrained by the boundaries.”
Degeimbre has a cuisine that is not only extremely modern and inventive but is also focused on sustainability and on showcasing what Wallonia has to offer. He is also the founder of Generation W which groups a number of chefs and artisan producers from Wallonia in a bid to promote this region not only in Belgium but also abroad.
Maxime Colin of La Villa Lorraine was nominated as young chef of the year for Brussels, Cedric Deksaut of Bienvenue chez vous in Namur for Wallonia and Marcello Ballardin of OAK in Gent for Flanders.