Three-Michelin star restaurant De Karmeliet to close

Summary

Chef Geert Van Hecke will close his restaurant De Karmeliet in Bruges next year, one of only three in Belgium with three Michelin stars

Van Hecke to run De Refter

De Karmeliet in Bruges, one of only three three-Michelin star restaurants in Belgium, will close in 2016, chef Geert Van Hecke has announced. Van Hecke, who turns 60 next year, will continue to run his second restaurant, bistro De Refter, also in Bruges.

The chef also plans to open a second space next to De Refter, he said. “With my wife Mireille, I want to open a much smaller business in the building adjoining De Refter,” he said. “That will correspond better to the scale of what we want to do in the near future.”

Van Hecke (pictured) is a former pupil of the famed hotel school Ter Duinen in Koksijde, and he trained with the French chef Alain Chapel, which he says taught him his respect for local products.

De Karmeliet opened in 1983, won its first star two years later and moved house in 1989. The restaurant has had three Michelin stars since 1996, making Van Hecke the doyen of the country’s three-star chefs, which also include Peter Goossens of Hof Van Cleve in Kruishoutem, East Flanders, and Gert De Mangeleer of Hertog Jan in Zedelgem, West Flanders.

“My knees have weakened; everything is weaker,” Van Hecke told VTM News. “I’ve been in this job for more than 40 years, and I think that’s enough. It’s been wonderful.”

Photo: Michel Vaerewijck/Visit Flanders