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Where are the Flemish Primitives?

Yesterday saw the announcement of the list of 50 Best Restaurants in the world for 2012. You have probably heard that NOMA is still in the top spot and maybe also that Heston Blumenthal has two restaurants in the top 20. Oh... and yes... that lady chef Elena Arzak is in 8th place. Don't get me wrong, I admire the work and the passion of these great chefs. But, I wonder... where are the Flemish Primitives? The list has restaurants from all over the world, including D.O.M. from Brasil in 4th place (congratulations to chef Atala!) and only one from Belgium: Hof Van Cleve.

During last year's edition of The Flemish Primitives in Oostende, Rene Redzepi called the work of "our" chefs "very inspiring". He went home and got back to work, inspired. Nordic cuisine is and has been a label for a while now, recognized worldwide.

But what about the work our chefs deliver? Where is Hertog Jan in the list? Or L'Air du Temps? Journalists worldwide rave about our chefs. The New York Times wrote about Hertog Jan: "If you can snag a table in the minimalist dining room, expect a parade of beautiful, pared-down plates from the chef Gert De Mangeleer, ranging from sea scallops with veal marrow, thin slices of Jerusalem artichoke and tiny dollops of herring eggs, to luscious Limousin lamb served candied with turnips and lemon myrtle." And yet, somehow restaurants like this are not in the list. I wonder why... Maybe (just maybe) we need to work even harder on our PR. Maybe the government should support The Flemish Primitives. After all, gastronomy put a whole Spanish region on the international travel map. Just like Rene Redzepi and Magnus Nilsson are now doing the same for Scandinavia, where a whole vision for Nordic cuisine was created.

What about it? The challenge is still there. Shall we?

Oh... here's the article in Weekend (in Dutch) and here's the list.
And here's another article on the Coolinary blog.

Radio 2 had an item with Willem Asaert in Avondpost about the same issue as I brought forward. You can listen to it below.

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