The event, organised with the support of Visit Flanders and Arts Flanders Japan, aimed to raise awareness of this Belgian region by introducing the chefs and a few Japanese and international media to some of Gert and Joachim Boudens favourite suppliers and fellow chefs.
The three chefs that cooked at Hertog Jan together with Gert were Yusuke Takada from La Cime in Osaka cooked lunch with Gert. On the other hand, the dinner was a collaboration between Zaiyu Hasegawa of restaurant Den in Tokyo which holds 11th place in Asia’s 50 Best and 45th place in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants) and Hiroyasu Kawate, chef of Florilège, 14th in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants together with Gert.
Inspired by the unique garden at Hertog Jan which supplies 95 per cent of the herbs, fruits and vegetables that are used in the restaurant, the Japanese chefs also used produce that is traditional of the Flemish region such as eel, pork and fish provided by North Sea Chefs. The latter is a collective of chefs that is lead by Bruges based chef Filip Claeys of two Michelin star De Jonkman and which aims to encourage the use of all fish caught by fishermen and not just a certain type of fish. This proved to be an inspiration for Hiroyasu Kawate, a chef who is raising awareness about the issue of food waste in Japan.
Gert De Mangeleer took his guests to the market on Tuesday and also took them to the Siphon, a restaurant known for the Belgian speciality, eel.
For the lunch, the Belgian chef cooked together with Yusuke Takada. The two chefs prepared a number of dishes which complemented each other and concluded with an exceptional joint dish which paired duck with eel. The Japanese chef served the duck with an eel sauce which was mixed with burnt paprika while Gert served the eel wrapped in duck liver.
In the evening, Gert cooked with Zaiyu Hasegawa and Hiroyasu Kawate. They served an array of dishes before starting to work together on dishes. The Japanese chefs challenged Gert to cook a Japanese inspired rice. The Belgian chef made an exceptional rice with cep mushrooms which they had picked together the day before, marrow and snails. This was served together with a dashi and pigeon from Steenvoorde.
Gert and Hiroyasu prepared cod with crab sauce, male zucchini flower, fennel blossoms and parsley oil. On the other hands, Gert and Zaiyu combined eel with green herbs for their joint dish,
Inspired by the produce he found, Zaiyu made tofu from cows milk and served it with cep mushrooms and a dashi soup. But what was maybe more impressive was his use of beetroot together with dashi and basil seeds which he marinated in tomato essence and which ended up having the texture of berries. This was the second time in a few months that I tried an exceptional beetroot dish from this talented Japanese chef.
Next month, Gert de Mangeleer will spend two weeks in Japan. He will be cooking at La Cime, Florilege and Den restaurant. The Belgian chef loves Japan and draws a lot of inspiration from there.
In the coming days you will be able to read more about the lunch and dinner and also read interviews with the Japanese chefs about their visit to Belgium.