Cheaper fine dining for 20-somethings in Flanders
Sébastien Verveken is the chef at ‘t Convent, a one Michelin star restaurant in Reninge, Belgium. (Michael Dehaspe)
In an effort to introduce the world of fine dining to a younger clientele, high-end restaurants in Flanders, Belgium (and one in Lucerne, Switzerland), have created affordable prix-fixe menus for guests who are 30 years old or younger.
The 2011 Flanders for Foodies program will run until 15 November, showcasing a region whose cuisine and produce are world-famous. Prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus (45 euros, inclusive of tax and tip) are available at 48 restaurants, whose chefs -- all 35 years old or younger -- were selected by a jury of Flemish culinary experts. Eight of the chefs have won Michelin stars, including Gert de Mangeleer, whose Hertog Jan in Bruges, has two stars, and Sebastien Ververken, whose ‘t Convent in Reninge has one star. Dishes featured on the ‘t Convent menu include red mullet with North Sea shrimp, bouillabaisse and fennel, and Flemish chocolate rice pudding with pineapple.
Offered only to guests ages 18 to 30, the prix-fixe menus are available at lunch or dinner, depending on the restaurant, and include an appetizer, entrée, dessert, two alcoholic drinks and coffee or tea. Frank Vansteeland, provincial coordinator of Vlaanderen Lekker Land, a hospitality and tourism group in Flanders (a region comprised of Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp), recommends booking in advance, since some restaurants set limits on the number of diners they can accommodate, or do not offer menus at certain times, like Saturday evenings. He also said the restaurants’ chefs and staff can discuss menus with English-speaking guests.
In Lucerne, Switzerland, Jasper, the one-Michelin-starred Mediterranean restaurant in the Palace Luzerne, offers a three-course dinner menu (59 Swiss francs, inclusive of tax but not tip), each Wednesday evening to guests age 18 to 29. Diners older than 29 who accompany guests who are eligible for the special menu also may purchase it.
Menus featured in this promotion, which began in June, change weekly and there are no plans for the promotion’s end date. Recently, the restaurant featured vitello tonnato, black angus beef entrecote with horseradish risotto and green beans, and verbena cassata with lukewarm almond cake.