Welcoming the prize-winners in his starred restaurant. Report.
For the third consecutive year he has welcomed the Trophée Jeunes Talents prize-winners. Ferdy Debecker, President of Bocuse d’Or Winners, a great-hearted Belgian chef, seems to enjoy the adventure as much as his protégés!
Since the first edition Ferdy Debecker and his wife Ann have welcomed the Trophée Jeunes Talents prize-winners in their restaurant Eyckerhof north of Brussels. They make them live a unique experience they will remember all their lives. Apart from their total immersion in the kitchen the young people are taken into the intimacy of the family and have intense experiences with them.
Ferdy Debecker tells us his favourite story about the first edition: “I saw Melina arrive, one metre sixty tall, with her three suitcases bigger than herself, her whisks, frying pans, and saucepans… I shall never forget that moment! I laughed so much - obviously because we already had everything for her on the spot…”.
Generally speaking, and quite apart from the wonderful apprenticeship the Trophée provides, this year abroad is a quite extraordinary opening both internationally and to other cultures which increases their maturity with lightning speed. This is what Ferdy especially appreciates in the Trophée: “It’s a wonderful success every time; it liberates them and lets them find themselves, and these young people are the future: it’s up to us to support them and teach them everything we can”.
What always amazes him is that these young people “are already very open, eager to learn and see lots of things; it’s always delightful”. And it cannot be said they lack motivation! Ferdy particularly remembers Félix, 2nd edition prize-winner: “he even stayed during the annual holidays to train: he cooked every day!”. In Ferdy Debecker’s eyes the most important value in the kitchen is respecting the seasons, and that is precisely what he works at transmitting to the apprentices every year. The other important lesson he’s taught them is knowing how to make up for lost ground after a failure. “In life it’s essential – that’s what learning means – failures are healthy: they let you build yourself up.”