The ‘Likoké’’ Legacy
Double Michelin-starred Belgian chef Piet Huysentruyt will soon open a pop-up restaurant at The Conservatory on Happy Valley Road. The project is of personal, emotional significance to Piet and his family as it is a final farewell to his father, who passed away 20 years ago. His restaurant carries the nickname his father was given in the Belgian Congo. Huysentruyt says Likoké’s core values reflect his family’s roots in Africa, A Likoké’ fish is one that is fast, clever and impossible to catch. Piet agrees this was a true reflection of his father.
The pop-up restaurant is a visiting version of Huysentruyt’s Likoké Restaurant in Les Vans in France’s Rhône Valley. Huysenstruyt says that “Everything at Likoké has always been about a story, about roots, soul and emotion and art.” With this philosophy a ‘standard’ pop-up restaurant as a way to keep busy during the French winter simply wouldn’t do and eventually developed into a world tour – “just as a rock band would do.”
The ‘Likoké’ world tour
Their first destination was Huysenstruyt’s native Belgium, followed by stopovers in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. Franschhoek is the restaurant’s last and only African stop before heading back home. The restaurant team is being followed by a TV crew, writer and photographer with a view to publishing a book about their culinary world tour.
Where it all began
Huysentruyt attended the Ter Duinen Culinary Institute against his parents’ wishes. He went on to work at some of Belgium’s and France’s most prestigious culinary institutions before opening his own eponymous eatery in the late 1980s. His efforts were rewarded with a Michelin star in 1994.
True to his rebellious nature his cuisine became famous for revolutionary combinations of noble ingredients and offal. When he published his first book, with food photographer Tony Leduc, it was appropriately titled “Contemporary and Stubborn”. It was also the first time in history that the phrase “ food porn” was coined!
Feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated Huysentruyt closed his first restaurant and went on to become a celebrity TV chef – creating more than 20 cooking shows and selling more than 4 million books along the way.
Likoké welcomed its first diners in 2013 and received a Michelin star a mere five months later. The Gault et Millau Restaurant Guide awarded it three toques later the same year as well as its Discovery of the Year accolade. Today the restaurant is ranked 39th on the WBP Stars World’s Best Restaurants List.
‘Likoké’ comes to Franschhoek
Likoké in Franschhoek will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, between 28 February and 15 March. It will be located at The Conservatory on Happy Valley Road.
What to expect
We were invited to Piet and his lovely wife Vero’s Franschhoek home on Friday to sample some of his creations ahead of the official opening of the pop-up at the end of February. It was truly a culinary adventure as Piet told us stories of each dish, his passion (and pride!) for Belgian cuisine and some of the challenges he had going against the grain in the early 90’s.
Green Celery-tarragon-Cucumber (Green)
Belgian Waffle- Mushroom
Apple- Honey- Goats Cheese
Moambe- LFC (Piet’s own version of KFC, with a Congolese twist)
Pork Trotter Beignets- Caulifower
Spaces are very limited to be sure to book ASAP if you would like to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity. Click here to reserve your spot.