Describe yourself, your background and what you do today. How has where you come from shaped who you are?
I’m from Brussels and cofounder of Emi et Lou. I was initially a finance guy, coming from the audit and banking world, but this didn’t satisfy my passion for sweet breakfasts. Indeed, back when we were barely 15, we delivered together with my childhood friend Christophe de Viron fresh rolls and buns by bike to earn some pocket money. Fast-forward to three years ago, we decided to launch Emi et Lou, a company offering healthy and tasty breakfast products, using original recipes and ingredients from responsible suppliers, all artisanal and sustainably made.
How would you describe your attitude to work?
The most important thing is to do something you enjoy. It’s the only way you can excel in your environment and push your limits a bit further every time. We are passionate about our products, clients and company. Working is a combination of being serious and achieving objectives, together with some fun and jokes.
On a personal note, what would you say you’re the proudest of?
My family! I have two very nice boys, four and five years old, and a beautiful wife who has always supported me in all of my projects. We started Emi et Lou from scratch, without any food or retail experience, and are now delivering our breakfast products to a serious number of shops in Belgium, Germany, UK, and soon France and Italy.
What do you think distinguishes Belgium, and its people, from the rest?
Belgium is a special and amazing country: we have the best beers, chocolates and fries in the world – and the sauces to accompany them. We also used to be one of the main global industrial players, even if that was already some time ago. Belgians are renowned for their professionalism, ability to compromise, and modesty – sometimes even too modest, we should learn to be able to celebrate more our success. And last but not least, we are true epicureans. And finally, we hope to put Belgium on the world football map next June in Russia!
If you had to nominate three people that, to you, best symbolised Belgium in its full glory, who would they be?
They are just too many to name: King Philippe, Eden Hazard, René Magritte, Stromae, Marc Coucke, Dirk Frimout, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Eddy Merckx, …
If you had to take visiting guests out on a Sunday tourist trail, where would you take them and why?
At the risk of sounding cliché, we would have to pass by Brussels’ Grand Place. Besides that, I would take my guests out for a walk through Place Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijneplein and around. You’ll find an incredible Brussels atmosphere there, with beautiful architecture and plenty of nice places to drink and eat. And if the weather is on your side, it’s simply perfect!
Sauces, in Belgium at least, are intrinsically linked to French fries. What’s your combination of choice?
I like to change it up, but my two favourite sauces are Brussels Ketjep’s Dallas, and sauce andalouse. An idea for Sylvain perhaps!
Tell us about the first time you discovered BK sauces.
Being active in the food business and coming across new brands every day, I quickly discovered Brussels Ketjep and became a devout fan!
Why do Belgians do it better?
Because Belgians are open, help each other out, respect each other, give 110%, and don’t take themselves too seriously.