by Eddy Van Damme on April 22, 2013


Ghent, place of my birth.

With thousands of you visiting on a daily basis I thought it may be a good idea sharing something more than another recipe. After all, being in the food industry may spark an interest in visiting Belgium some day. Ghent Belgium is rated # 3 on National Geographic’s Travelers list of beautiful historic places. Ghent is nestled between Brussels and Bruges, about a good 40 minute drive either way. Many tourists only visit the named above, too bad for them, as the Historic center of Ghent boasts a complete different type of “feel” and architecture than that of Brussels. It is a must see indeed. The historic center is car free thus you walk along the people who live and work in Ghent and who will quickly make you feel as you already belong. This is NOT a city where you feel as a tourist who MUST visit or buy something to absorb the place. Ghent will slow you down and will make you take your time to enjoy a patio with good coffee, Belgian beer, lunch, dinner, dessert etc. Stay as long as you want on the patio, no one will rush you as the Gent HORECA (HOtel, REstaurant, CAfé) owners will respect and be truly grateful for your visit.

It is true that you can eat exceptionally well in Belgium, (the amount of Michelin rated star restaurants per capita is extraordinarily high). But most of us do not frequent these on a daily basis. When we are in the historic area of Ghent we frequent many restaurants and many are very good, but everyone has favorites and I am sharing mine. For coffee we like to stop at 3,14 (Pi) at the Groentemarkt. Delicious cappuccino and coffee served in a friendly manner in a cool interior make it a great spot indeed. Picture below 3,14














For lunch or dinner we favor restaurant The Graslei found on n°7 of the street of the same name. When weather is good, take a seat on the breathtaking patio overlooking water and buildings dating from the 13 th century. If the weather is slightly cold, you can still sit on the patio as luxury blankets are on each and every chair and outdoor heaters will be on. Inside, the décor is beautiful, immaculate and stylishly Belgian. Retaining parts of the old building mixed with the new. The food you say? Always delicious and very generous and will make you want to come again, even the same day. Ilse, the proprietor will greet you with tremendous enthusiasm and Jonas and the other attentive wait staff will serve you gracefully and respectfully. Plenty of excellent wine choices at the Graslei, although for lunch or in the afternoon on the patio I may reach for one of Belgium’s most delicious beers, a Trippel Karmeliet, a beer I also use on occasion to cook savory dishes.


Picture above: Courtesy Restaurant Graslei










21 comments on “Ghent

  1. Kathryn Herod on said:

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing, Chef 🙂

  2. Priscilla on said:

    Just delightful Eddy. What an inviting combination of old world charm and contemporary style. I hope to get to visit Ghent one of these days. Thanks for taking us on a little excursion.

  3. Peter Tham on said:

    Thanks for sharing Chef Eddy, nothing is better than going to places recommended by the locals. By the way, does Ghent has its own specialty baked goods or desserts?

  4. Raymond Estrada on said:

    Ghent has a restaurant that locals are willing to eat the meals. Chef Eddy, this is where you were born and raised before coming to the United States of America. Now, I understand where you were from and this is why you became a pastry chef. I might go to your place for a vacation and it has a history. The 6th picture I saw is a remnant of the catacombs. This catacomb in Ghent is made of real life stones. Fifth picture has a similarity of the river from Amsterdam and France. It is a clean environment to walk, explore, and each house is very old. The house in picture number 4 is made of white stone and dark wood. It is very scary to go inside the catacombs when lights are out. Also, it is expensive. Thanks for showing me this pictures.

  5. Trendalynn Austin on said:

    Reading this article and seeing the pictures has inspired me a lot. I am very interested in visiting this beautiful place. I am going to print these pictures and also put them on my board with my goals because I plan on one day visiting.

  6. valerie alexander on said:

    Thank you for sharing your hometown with us it just beautiful and inviting. i love the outdoor cafes and it seems like it could be the perfect vacation.

  7. mona robinson` on said:

    I visited your web site for the first time. I would love to visit Belgium one day, it is beautiful. I was really surprise to see the different things under your web site. I didn’t now that HCCS had a celebrity in the house. I am glad that I had a chance to learn from you. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jessica Santos on said:

    Hello Chef Eddy,
    Thank you for the virtual tour. Looks like an amazing place to visit.

  9. Fu-Ying Wu on said:

    “the amount of Michelin rated star restaurants per capita is extraordinarily high”- I just recently found out what Michelin rated meant, and that sounds amazing! and topping it off with how you mentioned they’re always delicious and GENEROUS, which seems to not be the norm when it comes to delicious, and usually expensive foods that I’ve encountered. The place you were born at sounds so wonderful and looks so beautiful, it’s no wonder it’s rated #3 on National Geographic’s travelers list.

  10. Renae Holman Murti on said:

    Incredible pictures! It’s fun to dream about traveling there one day.

  11. Katerina Kyriazis on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    thank you for posting information and the beautiful pictures of Ghent. I hope that some day in the future I will be able to travel to different countries, one of them being Belgium.

  12. Andrea Angulo on said:

    I dont know if its only pastry chefs but my hopes to travel and work and see new technics and recipes are so mindblowing to me. THat is what i want to do! be a traveling chef and that is one place i would love to visit!! it looks so whimsical and full of life!!!

  13. cynthia smith on said:

    i dont get to travel much at least not outside of the country so thank you for that photo looks peaceful

  14. Yuko Ouchi on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy, Thank you for introducing Ghent, your home town. It is beautiful! Like me a tourist will visit to only Brussels. Ghent Belgium is my list to visit now. Why are you in Houston? Probably, it is easy to live or too long to be here.

  15. Sherri Atlas on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    Your birthplace is beautiful. Could you teach in Ghent?
    Cooking school credit by day and Michelin restaurants at night. Now that is a magnifique vacances.
    Thanks for your inspirational demos and recipes.

  16. lydia hermandez on said:

    first of all thank you for sharing part of your culture, it must feel really nice to have such beautiful place to call home. all the recipes you have shared are not only delicious but beatiful to look at. i look forward to learning lots of interesting and useful information from you. thanks again.

  17. i will go Germany and around Europe next summer, and i would like to come visit your city…any suggestion chef?

  18. Brian on said:

    Belgium is the most under-rated country in Europe. It is a destination in itself, especially if you love food, history and great, friendly people. If anything, Chef Eddy was very conservative in his blog. Ghent and Belgium are another world.

  19. April jones on said:

    This is a very gorgeous place to visit one day.

  20. Niah on said:

    Beautiful city, will love to visit one day and many more.

  21. Kristy Wiley on said:

    What a great place to grow up.

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