25% more restaurants in East Flanders with ever younger chefs

According to new figures from the hospitality industry federation Horeca Vlaanderen there are now 25% more restaurants in East Flanders than was the case five years ago. While the number of restaurants increased across our, nowhere was it as great as in the province that includes Ghent and towns such as Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklaas, Dendermonde and Aalst. In East Flanders chefs are opening their own restaurants at an ever younger age.     

At the start of 2015 there were 1,600 restaurants in East Flanders. This has since increased to almost 2,000. Nowhere else in Flanders has the number of restaurants increased as sharply. Horeca Vlaanderen’s Matthias De Caluwe to VRT Radio 2 East Flanders that

"The increase in East Flanders is quicker than elsewhere in Flanders”. This is very positive. We have noticed that many young people are now taking the step. The choice of restaurants is also very diverse”.  

"This summer I was at the opening of a new restaurant in Gent. The owners already had a restaurant, but were now trying out another concept. Once people get a taste for it they start to undertake new initiatives.    

Chefs are getting younger

The figures also show that chefs are getting younger. The technical Director of the Stella Matutina Denis Dhaene catering college in Brakel (East Flanders) told the VRT “Recently it has become the case that young people start their own business within a couple of years of graduating”.

"20 years ago you ended up in a hierarchic system after graduating. You started off as a commis and worked your way up to become a sous-chef and then eventually became a chef. This is much less the case now. Those that start their training have a much better idea of what they want and start their own business much earlier”.   

Mr Dhaene adds that the new chefs’ approach to gastronomy is also more innovative. "Many young graduates start for example with a food truck, a pop-up restaurant or a concept restaurant”.