Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
American football and the Brussels Black Angels are my life. This sport has given me everything: a family, a team and brotherhood. I started to play in the 90s, right until 2005. From 2005 to 2013 I coached the Junior team, going on to win the Belgian Championships in 2008. I’m now a coach assistant, offensive coordinator and head coach for the Senior team since 2013.
How has where you come from shaped who you are?
Schooling choices, friends and American football have all helped in shaping who I am today. I didn’t go on to do any major studies, and yet I think I’ve succeeded quite well in life.
How would you describe your attitude to work?
I love tackling challenges in my work – facing a wall, stuck on a problem, then finding a solution to transform, improve, and make things exceptional. I love this intensity and thrill. As a coach for the Brussels Black Angels, it’s important to have a strong character, but I also always consider the players to be like my sons or family… I give my all for my team.
On a personal note, what would you say you’re the proudest of?
My three children: I’m proud of the paths they’ve taken, their ideas and their projects. Also, getting to stand by the woman I love for over 30 years now. As a coach, I’m really proud to see Brussels Black Angels growing in size and importance, both within and beyond Belgium. They made big steps these past few years, including winning three Belgium titles, the last one being as recent as 2017.
To you, what is a Ketje?
Benoît Poelvoorde screaming “gamin” in C’est arrive près de chez vous.
What do you think distinguishes Belgium, and its people, from the rest?
The joyful and welcoming attitude of this small flat country and its people. And of course, the best fries in the world. I also love the diverse Marolles neighbourhood, where we speak brusseleir.
If you had to nominate three people that, to you, best symbolised Belgium in its full glory, who would they be and why?
Laurent and Jack Durieux: globally renowned Belgian illustrators.
Toots Thielemans aka Le Ket: a great Belgian jazz musician who collaborated with well-known names like Quincy Jones and Pat Metheny.
Jacques Brel: my father’s favourite singer, I used to listen to his songs as a child. I love his accent and movements while singing. Particular favourites are La chanson des vieux amants and Une île, which I discovered in the Claude Lelouch movie Itinéraire d’un enfant gâté.
If you had to take out-of-towners to one essential restaurant in Belgium, which one would it be?
Skievelat at Sablon/Zavel – a quintessential Belgian atmosphere where you can enjoy a good meal with your loved ones. Moreover, this place is located in a quaint district in downtown Brussels which, at least to me, represents everything that Belgium stands for.
Tell us about the first time you discovered BK sauces.
By chance, in my local store. The Ketjep! Such a cool and funny name cool, making me want to taste it straight away. I subsequently discovered the Dallas, Mayo and 16-20 too.
Can you recollect your best Belgian joke ever?
Not sure… But what I can tell you is that the French tend to think they have the best Belgian jokes – yet the best ones I’ve heard are from my friends here.