Nuts and Dried Fruits : “Crunch and Originality”
Comme Chez Soi is a two Michelin Star family-run restaurant founded in the early 20th century by Georges Cuvelier. In the 1930s, the Maison moved to its present location, an Art Noveau house at Place Rouppe in Brussels, where it obtained its first Michelin star in 1953. In 1994, the elder daughter of the 4th generation, Laurence, marries Lionel Rigolet, who is also trained in famous restaurants in Belgium and abroad. Lionel completes his full training in the restaurant of his father-in-law, and later takes over the restaurant with his wife. Today, the restaurant is brilliantly run by the couple who love to turn every meal into a real gourmet experience.
Comme Chez Soi is a family-run restaurant that started back in the early 20th century. Is the essence that brought Mr. Georges Cuvelier into the restaurant trade still strong?
Yes, of course! And every generation has added something; Georges created Comme Chez Soi, Louis developed it and gave it a style. Pierre drove it to the summit of gastronomy, and Lionel offers today a subtle blend of innovation and know-how.
Your restaurant is located in the heart of Brussels and decorated in the Art Nouveau style. Do you feel that, for guests, the décor of a restaurant is as important as the quality of the dishes?
It definitely has a big influence as it is the first experience you have of the restaurant. It reflects the style and the atmosphere of the Maison and gives you a hint at what you might expect in your dishes. For example, at Comme Chez Soi, you can perfectly see the mixture between tradition and innovation.
What are the daily challenges that you face in haute cuisine?
A restaurant is like a company, or even a small society where you have to face day-to-day challenges. What we also really pay attention to is, of course, the quality of the ingredients, the dishes, the service, etc. Our goal: that our clients experience something special, timeless, unique.
Let’s talk about your cuisine. What does it mean that your dishes are made with “a touch of exoticism and creativity”? Where do you find inspiration to create?
Exoticism comes from the fact that I mix a lot of spices myself to create my dishes. It’s a long process with inspiration mainly coming from traveling, it really opens my mind and boosts my creativity.
In your opinion, what are the best qualities nuts and dried fruits can add to your cuisine?
I would say crunch and originality.
And what is the nut or dried fruit that is never missing in your kitchen?
We have a wide range of nuts to be honest. They’re rarely missing.
Among other accolades, Comme Chez Soi has received two prestigious Michelin Stars. What did that represent for you?
Recognition for the hard work of all the Comme Chez Soi team.
What can people expect when they come to Comme Chez Soi?
Laurence and I are proud to highlight a cuisine rich in an almost 100-year-old tradition. At Comme Chez Soi, you can experience real and tasty cuisine surrounded by beautiful art nouveau décor in the heart of Brussels. It’s not only history that you will taste, but also modernity, and that is the real plus of our Maison, it is the subtle blend of innovation and know-how I talked about earlier.
Try Lionel Rigolet’s recipe: Sautéed Scallops, Broad Beans with Smoked Bacon, Espelette Pepper And Caramelized Hazelnuts