Christoph Hardiquest confesses before Bon Bon closes

Monday, 10:00 am Although the restaurant should be closed today, there is work to be done in the kitchen. After welcoming me warmly, Christoph Hardiquest invites me to his peaceful terrace. A sense of freedom and excitement – who wouldn’t be days away from putting an end to such a beautiful chapter that began over 20 years ago? he succumbed to the delicate exercise of the retrospective interview. Christoph Hardiquest is a two-star chef, but above all he is a passionate and engaging deli, an inspiring entrepreneur, as well as a benevolent person, overflowing with very beautiful values ​​and attentive to the people around him. From the beginning in the furniture store to his future, he gave himself to the game with confidence.

Video of the day:

Your love for food comes from your family. What convinced you to make it your job?

I told my dad I wanted to be a chef when I was 13, it was in my DNA. This love came to me from my grandmother, who was also my godmother. She had a skill in leather, she did everything herself. She cooked black pudding, ham, bacon. She baked her homemade milk bread. I was always in the kitchen licking the bottom of the pot. Volovan sauce, meat juices, vanilla pudding… Tastes and smells arise in my head that no one could imagine. It has no price. Everything that I went through as a child, I would like to return to the place. This is one of my fantasies. »

Will this be part of your new career?

Having my own chickens, cooperating with a farmer, making compost: this is clearly in my plans. I have a kind of circular vision of the restaurant of tomorrow. I’m in creative chaos. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m going. I love this reboot, which will allow me to make decisions adapted to the evolution of the world. I am a challenger, I love challenges. That’s why I’m closing my restaurant as we know it, because it doesn’t suit me anymore. This creative chaos allows me to change my position. »

Which chef has inspired you the most?

Alain Passard and Yannick Alléno, I consider them my two older brothers, we have known each other for many years and we have a great relationship. I like how they adapt to the times, they are always one step ahead. They inspired me a lot from a culinary point of view. »

When you opened your first Bon Bon in a furniture store, you only had 2,500 euros in your pocket. Did you expect such success?

No. I just wanted to cook. I didn’t ask myself 36,000 questions. My heart told me to start, to be bold. It was kind of my first creative chaos. I didn’t know where I was going. It is important to show a positive image of entrepreneurship, that it is impossible to start from scratch, that there is not only an American dream, but also a European dream. My true love in this job is seeing the people I have trained succeed. »

Do you have examples?

There are many! They work in Canada, in Brazil, in the south of France… I think of Adrian Kuhnak, who has worked with me for 10 years and is the chef at the Chez Odette restaurant in Villiers, France, a stone’s throw from the Franco-Belgian border. It will become a gem of gastronomy, I assure you! I also think of Basil de Wolfe, the brilliant chef who opened his restaurant in a wooden chalet. There is also Sebat Capela, who I put on a project in Genappe, he will be a hit! I have really had the pleasure of coaching and inspiring a younger generation that is even brighter than ours. »

What is your fondest memory?

There is so much! I remember a very impressive dinner when the President of the US Senate came to eat at Bon Bon. There were snipers and his bodyguards on all the rooftops. It was crazy to have such artillery in and out of my restaurant. We also had quite a few stars that came to our house, I won’t name names but I can only tell you that one day we had to give up Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis and also Nelly Furtado because the restaurant was full from full . Another great memory is when a client wants to prepare food without a limited budget, it gives us the opportunity to work with the most beautiful products, to have the most beautiful bottles. It is very difficult to prepare the most beautiful menu. I also like the simpler things when I see clients who don’t have much money and who come with us to hit the jackpot to celebrate a special occasion. It touches me very much. We pamper them even more so that they have an even more magical experience. »

What signature dishes are you most proud of?

My White Pearl Oyster Jewels, a type of oyster carpaccio, served with whipped cream with shallots and lovage, caviar and mint oil. My bacon-skinned red mullet with porcini mushrooms and old rum sauce, or my duck with speculo. »

Was having a star one of your goals?

At first no, all I wanted to do was cook. But when you get one, you’re in the game and want a second one. It’s a bit like a football team, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you play, you must accept the rules. This allows me to ask questions even if I don’t always agree with their positions. But deep down I don’t care. The most important thing for me is to rejoice in the success of others and to be free above all else. I do what I want, follow my heart and close my deli restaurant. I’m really in complete freedom of expression and new creative chaos “.

As for the future of Bon Bon or his next projects, the chef still wants to be very careful and prefers to wait a few months before revealing his new concepts. “We are announcing great things in the future. But we’ll still wait a bit before revealing them. It will be the end of 2022,” the chef teases. But knowing the passion, experience and talent of the chef, we suspect that he has some delicious surprises in store for us. If the end of the quote reminds me too much of my dissertation studies, I can’t help but offer a Charlie Chaplin thought that fits the chef and his new adventures perfectly: “Out of chaos (creative) a star is born.” .

Leave a Comment