King Philippe paid a visit to the Instroom Academy on Wednesday, a project aimed at promoting the professional integration of asylum seekers in Antwerp through culinary training.
Chef Seppe Nobels and the GATAM association founded this initiative. Students at the Instroom Academy receive training in the hotel and catering industries, as well as Dutch lessons and psychological support.
The "Instroom" restaurant, in the heart of Antwerp's port, was opened in June 2021. "We are Europe's only academy to be listed in Gault & Millau and Michelin," Seppe Nobels told the Belgian sovereign.
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The King was served three dishes prepared by the apprentices. They were made from local ingredients but were inspired by the different students' cultures of origin. "The man or woman behind each dish is a central element for us," said the restaurant's chef.
"For example, the apprentices prepare dishes inspired by their grandparents' cuisine," he added, "but by using local vegetables, we also support our farmers and our land."
Apprentices arrive from all over the world, from South America to the Middle East and a massive 95% of asylum seekers find work after completing their training.