My restaurant rules in Leuven

Last years I started watching the Australian reality tv "My restaurant rules" and I got totally hooked at the adventures of different couples opening a new restaurant from scratch and competing in different cities against each other. I've watched both years.

In February during a walk with Jan downtown, I noticed that one of the empty pubs had a big banner hanging "soon on VTM". ...Immediately I had to think of 'My restaurant rules'. Could it be that there would be a Flemish version starting? Soon I learned that they would indeed start a Flemish version and my fear that it would be a weak copy of the original turned out to be untrue.

Together with other bloggers apparently, I sat in front of my tv each Tuesday and Thursday and saw 5 couples in each of the 5 Flemish provinces start-up their restaurant, renovate it, hire personnel, choose menu's, ... with all their ups-and downs. We laughed at the jalousy tantrums of the already famous Ghislaine, Yanaika's hang-over, we shook our heads over the stress-sensitive Micheline, etc...

And last week the first 2 restaurants got nominated for closure: Ghent and Leuven. Ghent and Leuven for God's sake, the only 2 cities that I feel truly connected to! How unfair! I couldn't care much if Oostende, Antwerp or Hasselt would close, but Ghent and Leuven were my two hometowns and it felt like an offense.

Yet I didn't have much difficulty to choose. Although Leuven seemed the underdog , more uncertain with many blunders in the serving, I liked their style much more. The "Charlekijn" in Ghent wants to serve "honest" down to earth menu's, but the concept of the game is to find a new top-restaurant. I'd prefer a little bit more sophistication myself both in the food, the serving and the decoration of the restaurant. D'Hoogeschool in Leuven still had to gain experience, but it has its concept right.
Kris and Angelo from Ghent are the archetypes of a rebellous stubborn inhabitant of Ghent. That can be very cool, but you have to balance on a thin line in order to avoid becoming arrogant. It is funny to see the pictures of the jury upgraded into mock pictures at the kitchen walls, but it's less funny when you yell at each criticism "the game is manipulated" , "rubbish", "assholes", ... The other provinces took some of the jury's criticism at heart to grow and learn from it, but Ghent could only curse and walk away. I must admit that it started to work on my nerves very much.

The general expectance was that Ghent would be able to mobilise a big fanbase and that they'd win. They probably did....but much to my surprise Leuven won tonight and Ghent has to close. I think their modesty and underdog postion has won the hearts from the other provinces. Yeaaaaah, I must say I cheered tonight.

So only 4 more restaurants open. Oostende should close next in my humble opinion. Running a restaurant while you can't stand that women come in because you imagine them all hitting on your fiancée or mocking you, isn't the best attitude, Ghislaine.


This is very interesting stuff! We don't have a similar program here, I don't think, but I'd probably watch it if we did.
Lilacspecs said…
Dangit, I was hoping Charlekijn would hang on a while. Hans is saying that he thinks that it's hard in Gent because there's a "restaurant culture" in this city that's hard to compete with as opposed to other cities. I walk by Charlekijn almost every day but we only figured out that it was related to that tv show last week. Maybe I'll have to start watching now.

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