BeerChefs 2015: And the winner is...
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-02-27 12:00:29 +0100 / Last Updated: over 2 years ago
FLEURUS/CHARLEROI - Beer can finally claim its rightful place - on your plate as well as next to it. Only two days after celebrity chef Sergio Herman and his team from Michelin-starred restaurant The Jane in Antwerp received the Beer & Gastronomy Award, four hotels schools from Brussels, Namen and Doornik (Tournai) battled it out for the title of BeerChef.
The venue for the contest was the Notre-Dame hotel school in Fleurus (Charleroi), which did not compete on this occasion.
Next year the victorious hotel school will host the contest and undoubtedly, a team from Notre-Dame will be there to battle for the honours.
For weeks before the contest the participating teams - a chef and a member of front-of-house staff - immersed themselves in preparation.
They visited four Belgian breweries, where they could bombard the brewers with questions and taste the beers under professional tuition.
This gave the students a deep understanding of the brewing process and the wide range of flavours and styles represented in the Belgian cooking. Needless to say, they also got a taste for using beer in the kitchen.
Initiatives such as BeerChefs are significant as hotel schools often do not pay enough attention to beer.
The Beer Kitchen
All the BeerChefs founders are beer lovers who believe their favourite drink is too often ignored in culinary circles. They are going to right this wrong.
It’s a deliberately low key start, but if the success of the contest motivates other schools and breweries, BeerChefs could eventually grow into an annual nationwide beer-cooking and beer-pairing contest.
There was plenty to savour at the first BeerChefs contest: beer cocktails, starters, main courses and desserts, each dish paired with the appropriate brew.
For each course the chefs could only use Belgian beers from the same brewery, and the beers used in the cooking were served to accompany the dish.
The jury members clearly enjoyed themselves, but this did not stop them from probing the students about their knowledge of beer and how they came to select their beer pairings.
Opening up all the registers
So, what was on the menu? Starters included a ceviche of prawn and Malmédy trout; a salad of chicory with white tripe and Granny Smith apple; tartare of salmon marinated in brown beer; and tartare of salmon with curly endive infused with soy, the last in pairing with a blonde beer.
There was a huge difference in beer pairings, even though the dishes themselves were similar. One young chef will aim for complementary flavours, the other makes the most of contrasts...
This could result in a surprising combination of a medium-sweet, dark beer in combination with a spicy dish.
It was fascinating to see how the young chefs interpreted all this with only a limited choice of beers at their disposal.
In the end there always has to be a winner appointed, and at this first edition of BeerChefs the prizes went to 20-year-old Christos Golfinos and Arthur Michelini, who is 19; congratulations to them both.
We are already dreaming of the next edition, with a wider range of beers so the students can play on more registers. This contest should grow and grow. It takes years to explore the rich and varied taste spectrum of Belgian beers and to translate it into delicious dishes and perfect beer pairings.
Recent Blog Posts
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. ... [ read more ]
LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family ... [ read more ]
BRUSSELS - To be authentic is not a competition and neither is it a fashionable attitude. You either are an authentic brewer or you are not. You are driven, you make great beers that have a soul, you ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ read more ]
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
NASSOGNE - Just the name, Ardennes, will set gourmets drooling. They’re getting spontaneous visions of a chunky slice of bread, home-made on the farm, buttered thickly and then covered with a sli... [ more ]
The golden rules for combining beer with food are just the same as those used when matching a menu with wine. Time for a brief introduction we thought. The two archetypal types of dishes: fish, which is fresh and sour... [ more ]
ELLEZELLES - As many as 34 years ago Jean-Baptiste Thomaes, at the ripe young age of 22, set up the prestigious establishment of Le Château du Mylord in Ellezelles, a village close to Ronse and Oudenaarde. ... [ more ]
We Belgians are keen on our ‘tripels’. And we enjoy our strong blond beers. The use of the term ‘tripel/triple’ denotes beers with larger amounts of ingredients added to the mash, ... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.