Brussels, Belgium’s capital city will welcome 25 international chefs to cook together in a unique event in aid of a South African project that was created by chef Margot Janse.
Three top Brussels restaurants, Bon Bon, Bozar and Le Chalet de La Foret will welcome chefs from across the globe for a 10-course menu on Saturday 16 February at 8pm. All proceeds from the night will go to Isabelo, Feeding Hungry Minds which has been serving nutritious meals to South African kids every school day since 2009.
Margot Janse, the top chef who quit cooking at the highest levels to focus on this charity two years ago believes that ‘nobody can learn on an empty stomach’.
The chefs that will be taking part include among others Pascal Barbot of L’Astrance, Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur, Rodolfo Guzman of Borago, Virgilio Martinez of Central Lima and Alain Passard of L’Arpege.
Tickets for the event will be on sale as from tomorrow 9 February at 9am on the following link.
This is the first time that such an event takes place. A unique 10 course-menu will be served that night as each dish will have been specifically created for the event and will include a specific indigenous South-African ingredient.
The price for the dinners are EUR 320 which include apertif, wines, water and copy apart from the 10 course menu).
Christophe Hardiquest of Bon Bon Restaurant together with Margot Janse will host Maksut Askar of Neolokal, Istanbul, Manu Buffara of Manu in Curitiba, Brazil, Williem Hiele, Coxyde, Chiho Kanzaki of Virtus Paris, Alain Passard of L’Arpege, Paris, and Ana Ros of Hisa Franko, Slovenia.
Karen Torosyan of Bozar Restaurant together with Margot Janse will host Brussels chef Isabelle Arpin, Pascal Barbot of L’Astrance, Paris, Emma Bengstton of Aquavit, New York, Belgian based chefs Sang Hoon Degeimbre of L’Air du Temps and David Martin of La Paix, Christophe Pele of Le Clarence Paris and Heinz Reitbauer of Steirereck in Vienna.
At Le Chalet de La Foret, Pascal Devalkeneer and Margot Janse will host Joris Bijdendijk of Rijks, Amsterdam, May Chow of Little Bao in Hong Kong, Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur in Menton, Rodolfo Guzman of Borago, Santiago, JP McMahon of Aniar in Galway, Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon of Central Lima and Viljhjalmur Sigurdarson of Souvenir in Gent.
About Isabelo in the words of Margot Janse
Every morning I would drive to my restaurant The Tasting Room (Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek, South-Africa) and turn left at the bottom of the road. Within a kilometer I would be in my beautiful kitchen, working with the best produce. If I turned right at the bottom of my road and travel 1 kilometer I would get to the middle of the township, surrounded by poverty and hunger with children who go to school on empty stomachs. The difference is too vast; I had to do something to start making a difference.
With the help of a dietitian I developed a highly nutritious muffin recipe. Every Friday we started baking and delivering these muffins to a small local playschool with 70 hungry children.
This proved so popular that owing to the generous donations we were able to increase the supply of our healthy meals to over 100 children in two different pre-schools, five days a week.
After a successful fundraising dinner in The Netherlands in 2011 we were able to start feeding warm nutritious lunches to 185 children across three schools. These children’s meals were all prepared by my team at the restaurant.
We were also able to diversify our efforts and Isabelo started funding the Kusasa Breakfast Club, feeding 1100 primary school children in Franschhoek, porridge, fruit and milk every school day.
In 2013 we were able to increase the nutritional value by adding an egg to their breakfast three days of the week. In 2014, I raised more funds by running the Cape Town Marathon. This, along with contributions from our suppliers, went towards the upgrading of the kitchens at Dalubuhle and Wes-Eind Primary Schools in which the Kusasa Breakfast Club meals are cooked.
In April 2017 I decided to make a big change and after 21 years left my job as Executive Chef of The Tasting Room. I adopted Isabelo and moved it to my house where my garage is now the distribution centre for all the food. A catering company in Cape Town makes the nutritious warm lunches for the 200 pre-school children. Milk, fruit, porridge and a lot of eggs are delivered to my house and I have help from The Kusasa Project with the daily food deliveries.
The Isabelo project has proven to be awe-inspiring and has surpassed my expectations. I strive to continue and grow this initiative and, with continued support, have no doubt that it will change the lives of more children than we ever imagined possible.