Xavier Bernes Club Ketjep
Xavier Bernes
The Hotel Brussels Sous-Chef

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.
After graduating from the Institut Notre Dame de Fleurus catering school, I joined the kitchen team of the European Union Council as a commis chef. For a decade I worked with Chef Pierre Balthazar, from whom I learned the ‘tricks of the trade’ and who helped me to obtain a sous-chef position. I’ve been assisting him for the last five years as his righthand man in his consultancy service as Culinary Director for The Hotel Brussels.

How would you describe your attitude to work?
I’m passionate about what I do and I think I can say I’m meticulous and well-organised.

On a personal note, what would you say you’re the proudest of?
The various prizes I’ve collected along the way, and the recognition from Michelin-starred chefs.

What do you think distinguishes Belgium, and its people, from the rest?
Our gastronomy, conviviality and knowledge.

If you had to nominate three people that, to you, best symbolised Belgium in its full glory, who would they be?
Eddy Merckx, Christophe Hardiquest and Manneken Pis.

If you had to take out-of-towners to one essential restaurant in Belgium, which one would it be?
Bon-bon, located on the Eastern outskirts of Brussels.

If you had to take visiting guests out on a Sunday tourist trail, where would you take them and why?
Namur for its citadel, Bruges and its canals, and Brussels by the Atomium.

Sauces, in Belgium at least, are intrinsically linked to French fries. What’s your combination of choice?
Vismet sauce in a lobster club sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries.

Tell us about the first time you discovered BK sauces.
The Mayo in my local supermarket.

Can you recollect your best Belgian joke ever?
Bye Bye Belgium aka the Flemish Succession Hoax in 2006: a very good Belgian joke.