With the opening of L.E.S.S. Eatery and Bar Bulot, the former 3-star chef Gert De Mangeleer has shown that even after the closure of restaurant Hertog Jan, he remains full of passion, energy and innovative ideas. Recently, he introduced his brand-new project to the world: a culinary concept called ‘Chef’s Invitation’.
First Up: Befriending Chefs from Tokyo
Inspired by Gert De Mangeleer’s culinary trips through Asia, the Hertog Jan*** Restaurant Group crafted a new concept. Under the title ‘Chef’s Invitation’, the chef will be regularly inviting fellow chefs from all over the world to cook together at one of his restaurants. The first edition of this new concept will be taking place at L.E.S.S. Eatery in Bruges on the 29th and 30th of January with chef Susumu Shimizu of restaurant Anis, and chef Hiroyasu Kawate of restaurant Florilège. Both chefs’ respective restaurants are located in Tokyo, Japan, a country that holds much significance this year. In 2020, Japan will be hosting the Olympic Games, and in addition to this, Japan is also the culinary destination par excellence this year with an innovative and sophisticated cuisine that continues to inspire many Western chefs. Moreover, it is no secret that Gert De Mangeleer himself regularly makes culinary trips to Japan and is particularly inspired by the Japanese cuisine.
Meet chef Susumu Shimizu
Originally from Oita Prefecture, chef Susumu Shimizu left for France in 2002 where he worked in several great restaurants such as La Maison de Marc Veyat and L’Arpège. During his time at restaurant L’Arpège, under the tutelage of well-known chef and meat specialist Alain Passard, Shimizu became the first Japanese chef to head the meat section. Afterwards, he worked for a year at Paris’ premier meat merchant Hugo Desnoyer to learn everything about handling meats. Seven years after he first travelled to France, Shimizu returned to Japan and became the chef at restaurant L’Art et la Manière in Ginza. Later, he decided to go out on his own, establishing restaurant Anis in 2013. Seeing that Shimizu learned the basics in France, Anis incorporates touches from French cuisine and its menu is built entirely around the chef’s passion for meat.
“During my career as a chef, I have always had a special passion for meats, and so my desire now is to follow that passion more deeply and wholeheartedly than ever. I specialize in whole pieces or sides of meat, cooking them very slowly – sometimes for more than six hours – on a plancha flattop grill”, says chef Susumu Shimizu.
Meet chef Hiroyasu Kawate
Born into a family of chefs, Hiroyasu Kawate was practically raised in a restaurant and was destined to become a chef. After his studies, he went to France to gain experience at restaurant Le Jardin des Sens and to learn the basics of French cuisine. With his own restaurant, Florilège, chef Hiroyasu is a fervent advocate of sustainability and follows the zero-waste philosophy when preparing his dishes. Furthermore, he really wants to show people the strength of the Japanese terroir and the powerful flavours of his country’s cuisine.
As both chef Shimizu and chef Kawate are trained in the classic French style – which they masterfully blend with their Japanese roots – their cuisine will certainly stand out during this very first edition of Chef’s Invitation. During the event, the chefs will be preparing a special tasting menu alongside Gert De Mangeleer and Ruige Vermeire at L.E.S.S. Eatery. For the price of €195 (all-in), you will be presented with an extensive menu of a variety of dishes, prepared by the different chefs.
Already curious about the next edition of Chef’s Invitation? On the 6th and 7th of May, Gert De Mangeleer will welcome chef Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery in Manila, Philippines, to L.E.S.S. Eatery.
Text: Carline Roggeman
Photography: Kris Vlegels