Last weekend, our Flemish culinary talent took home a first prize awarded by the press jury and a praiseworthy second place in the battle for the 2016 Native Cooking Award. The first prize went to Sweden, and Norway came in third. Other countries to participate were France and Denmark, but neither was awarded a prize.
The Flemish team was composed of Nick Bril (The Jane**), Michael Vrijmoed and Tim Boury of the restaurants of the same name (*), and Marcelo Ballard of Oak Gent.
During the competition, the teams compete against each other in the preparation of a three-course menu. They are given four hours to complete this challenge, during which they are sent out into nature equipped with a bicycle and a basket to pick and cook whatever crosses their path. No stove, no advanced technology and appliances, and no electricity: just a grill and fire in the great outdoors. The chefs have to rely more than ever on their own product knowledge, creativity, sustainability and craftsmanship.
The Belgian team surprised the jury with a tartar of lamb’s heart, braised lamb’s tongue and yoghurt with various wild herbs as a starter. The main course was a fillet of lamb served with a lamb confit in wild garlic and buttermilk purée with algae and liver.
In the dessert round, our Flemish culinary talent resolutely stood out from the rest by combining butterhead lettuce with a delicious cream of wood sorrel, finished with a sherry reduction, and served with rhubarb compote and a crumble with assorted grains.
The Flanders Food Faculty was present at the competition to support our Flemish culinary talent, but also made use of the opportunity to invite the Scandinavian press, who were also attending the event, for a press journey later on this year and which will showcase the gastronomic assets of Ghent and Antwerp.