Michael Van den Brandt Club Ketjep
Michael Van den Brandt
Panama Founder & General Manager

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
After working for several big companies and amazing brands like IKEA, Kinepolis, Red Bull and Frisk, I started my own sales and marketing company called Panama where I’m currently the general manager.

How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I was taught to be responsible for what I do and to be generous whenever I can. My education combined with my love for people made me a real people person, which I believe is the most important thing to keep in mind in both life and business.

What is your best advice when it comes to your attitude to work?
Work hard, play harder and always put things into perspective.

On a personal note, what would you say you’re the proudest of?
Watching my boys grow into great men.

To you, what is a Ketje?
Someone who bends the rules and gets away with it, but always in a nice way.

What do you think distinguishes Belgium, and its people, from the rest?
Beer, chocolate, French fries and great sauces like Brussels Ketjep. However, I’d say we could be a bit more cheerful.

If you had to nominate three people that, to you, best symbolised Belgium in its full glory, who would they be and why?
The King for always having to compromise, Vincent Kompany for showing us that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, and the weathermen for always providing us with bad weather.

If you had to take out-of-towners to one essential restaurant in Belgium, which one would it be?
I would get them to discover great typical Belgian food at Antwerp’s Den Artist.

If you had to take visiting guests out on a Sunday tourist trail, where would you take them and why?
I’d take them to my hometown Antwerp, which has everything one could desire: shopping, art, history and great food and drinks.

Sauces, in Belgium at least, are intrinsically linked to French fries. What’s your combination of choice?
Friet speciaal, which means Ketjep, Mayo and onions.

Tell us about the first time you discovered BK sauces.
It was at De Burgerij in Antwerp, which serves amazing burgers with Mayo, Ketjep and of course the unique Dallas sauce.

Can you recollect your best Belgian joke ever?
All Belgian jokes are good as long as they involve making fun of the Dutch and the French.

Why do Belgians do it better?
We’re a small country where the traffic sucks and the weather is bad – so we have to stand out in everything else.