Crazy to be abroad….


In 2006, late in May, I traveled to Belgium, in Éghezée, is a province of Namur, the capital of Wallonia. I went there to do my first stage in a two-star restaurant. In L’air du temps. I was going to stay there for a month, but unfortunately my plans changed.

It all started because of my love for being abroad and the thought that I should work in a top restaurant, at least for a while. I sent a message to one of the best Greek chefs that was abroad at that time and worked as RnD (research and development) of the restaurant. I traveled from Thessaloniki to Charleroi (an easy three-hour flight). The chef came and took me to Éghezée. It reminded me of Sweden, a lot of rain, verdant scenery, with plenty of air and generally it’s a gloomy place, which I love.!


In difficult circumstances since the first time


As soon as I arrived at the restaurant, I started working, even though I was too tired. The restaurant was full of customers. Besides being happy, I learned how it is to work in one of the best 100 restaurants in the world. That restaurant is popular for its gardens, having over 30.000 kinds of plants, vegetables, edible flowers and whatever a restaurant might need.

I was 26 years old and I met two 21-year-old French chefs that we worked together. I realized that we had completely different cooking knowledge and education, due to our nationality. It was then, that I realized that no matter how old you are, it’s wiser to work with people who are better than you in order to improve! We worked together 16 hours a day and 5 days a week. It was hard work! Sometimes, for example, we had to separate peas according to their size or cut the flowers in a specific shape, so as to be used in various dishes.

When we had a day off, we could do whatever we wanted. I decided to visit the most popular attraction, especially to people at my age, Tin Tin. To be more specific the seven-floor museum of cartoons, in Brussels. I felt like a child for a few hours! I could never believe that it would be such fun!


Everything happens for a reason


What impressed me about the food there, was the fact that the street food consisted mainly of French fried potatoes….an ordinary dish is mussels with fried potatoes. Luckily, I didn’t stay as much as I planned to. I traveled back to Greece via Istanbul. If I hadn’t changed the date of my return, I would be there, when the terrorist attack took place .

For many years, I thought that the time in Belgium was a failure, a waste of time. I realized, though, that through your failure, you gain more knowledge than you do during moments of success.