We were happy to learn about a brand new culinary experience at the Villa Empain! Chef Glen Ramaekers will be at the helm of the Café de la Villa, taking over from starred chef Sang-Hoon Degeimbre. Be prepared for an unprecedented taste experience combining oriental flavors with western cuisine infused with Filipino accents dear to this visionary chef who likes to wander off the beaten track and is not afraid to break the codes of classic gastronomy.
Villa Empain is an architectural jewel of the Art Deco movement, located on Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. It became an essential place in Brussels artistic life when the Boghossian family decided to restore it and set up their headquarters there in 2010. A remarkable witness to its time, the Villa Empain is today a center of art and dialogue between the cultures of East and West.
With its American-style bar, which was particularly fashionable in the 1930s, the woodwork ceiling in Venezuelan manilkara and detailed ironwork, the Café de la Villa is decorated with velvet and precious marble and was once the intimate salon of Baron Empain. The grand staircase from the living room led directly to his bedroom, so it is one of the most private and prestigious rooms in the entire Villa. Inaugurated in 2018 by Michelin-starred chef San, the restaurant now welcomes Glen Ramaekers for a five-month culinary experience, from March 21 until September 3, 2022.
A special place on the menu is reserved for vegetables: with the exception of a meat dish and some fish, almost everything on offer is vegetarian. Behind the scenes, Julie de Block, introduced to market gardening by Bart Belmans de Sanguissorba in Ranst, will supply the fresh and organic vegetables grown in her one-hectare vegetable garden near Mechelen. Partners in life and in the kitchen, this pioneering duo is emulated by many with its Brussels food-sharing concept at Humphrey Chez Pias. He will also be assisted by the young pastry chef Gill Walschap for the sweet dishes.
Challenged by this beautiful space the chef Glen Ramaekers created an all-round experience focusing not only on tastes but also on aesthetics that match the ongoing exhibitions and colours of Villa Empain. As he says “It’s important to have a great quality but I also wanted to connect with this beautiful venue and offer a sense of discovery”.
Chef Glen Ramaekers started his gastronomic journey at an early age, inspired by his parents who owned the catering business Ludovic. He completed his culinary training at the hotel school Ter Duinen and worked in several Michelin starred restaurants such as Seagrill restaurant ** (Belgium), Scholteshof restaurant ** (Belgium), La Pyramide restaurant ** (France) and the restaurant Moulin de Mougins ** (France). Today he owns Humphrey Chez Pias, a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Brussels. Glen is also Don Papa Rum’s ambassador and organizes the great Chefs and Shakers competition.
An opportunity to discover exhibitions at Villa Empain
This culinary journey should definitely be accompanied with a visit to the Villa and its two current exhibitions. “Portrait of a Lady” runs from March 24 to September 4 and illustrates the representation of women from prehistory to the present day. The expo brings together a selection of ancient and contemporary works of art from Eastern and Western cultures. The second expo “Michel Polak”, runs from April 7 to August 21, as a retrospective on this little-known architect and esthete. He is the author of many emblematic buildings in Brussels, namely the Residence Palace, the Plaza hotel as well as the Villa Empain. His career spans through the entire first half of the 20th century and represents a reflection of this era and its cultural and aesthetic values.
Interested to know more? Visit the website of Villa Empain.