Raised in Belgium’s city of Liège, along the Meuse River, Christophe grew up eating simple food, but it wasn’t long before the chef’s interest in food was peaked, and he decided to enter the world of gastronomy.
After attending the Hotel School of Namur, Christophe went on to gain experience at a host of restaurants, both in Europe and the United States. First an apprentice chef at the SAS Radisson Brussels Hotel working under chef Yves Mattagne, then a commis chef for Chef Roland Debuyst at the Silver Bocuse in Lyon. Christophe then moved to New York where he worked at La Cremaillère restaurant, before coming back to his birthplace in Belgium work as chef de partie, then sous-chef, alongside chef Pascal Silman at Conrad Hôtel Bruxelles.
In 2001, Christophe felt it was time to start a new chapter of his own, and Bon Bon was born. Although Bon Bon is now an impressive spectacle, the restaurant and chef have humble beginnings. With little money to his name, the chef started with nothing but a stove and a dishwasher, cooking with family casserole dishes and using his skill and determination, it wasn’t long before he was noticed for his culinary prowess.
Soon, Bon Bon became the spot in town that was the “place to be” to get the best food – and it wasn’t long thereafter that the Michelin Guide awarded Bon Bon with its first star. Since then, the restaurant, and its chef, have grown from strength to strength, blossoming into one of Belgium’s best and most loved culinary establishments.
Christophe Hardiquest’s approach to cooking is multicultural, epicurean, and above all, generous. With sustainability at its core, Christophe’s cuisine promotes dialogue and sharing. The chef’s kitchen is one of improvisation, with no tules or borders.
“Work with quality products, know their origin. There is no large kitchen that lies without products of excellence.”
“The technique should not be felt, it is only in the service of taste and emotion.”
Christophe focuses on quality, craftsmanship and, of course, good seasoning. His philosophy: just cook good food that oozes warmth from its heart, tells a story and results in a good feeling.
Dazzling diners in the moment, spontaneity, showcasing the product’s excellence, perfectly pairing flavors and preparing fresh food are the chef’s driving factors.
To Christophe, it is important that the diners understand his cooking, and they are “participants in the composition of the symphony of emotions that he is about to live” through his food.
Bon Bon is a place where every guest is entitled to experience their ultimate luxury and where each guest is guaranteed a unique moment and unforgettable experience.
In 2017, Christophe extended the Bon Bon concept to his Bon Bon Origin project, which aims to rediscover traditional Belgian recipes, revitalizing them by deconstructing them and then rebuilding them in a contemporary way. Christophe will also invite chefs from around the globe to cook with him as part of this project, and these collaborative dinners will explore the terroirs of the guest chefs’ native lands.
“The Bon Bon Origins project was born out of a fact: the globalization of international gastronomy is accelerating. My fear of seeing one day the same products, the same dishes, served in all the starred restaurants around the planet pushed me to act on my scale to try to counter this movement.”
“I thought it was important to go back to basics, to our roots, to our history, to our terroir and to continue to work on them to preserve this beautiful legacy for future generations.
After 2 years of historical research and culinary experimentation, I came to create a series of recipes. It is always Belgian cuisine, our products, but worked under a new and contemporary lighting. Today, a la carte restaurant, you will find a large part of these new creations.”
“Also, to emphasize the importance of preserving and making known our beautiful terroirs, my team and I decided to invite Belgian and international chefs working in the same direction. Together, we will each cook our most iconic revived dishes at a unique dinner. Finally, one last point which seems to me equally essential, is to try to sensitize the young chefs to their own soil. That’s why we decided to invite, at each of these dinners, a young talent to join us.”
FOURty Seconds with Christophe Hardiquest
Describe your culinary philosophy:
Modernized gourmet cuisine.
What is your greatest inspiration?
Travel and reading.
If you could take a plane ride to any restaurant in the world, just for one meal, where would you go?
Benu, Corey Lee.
What FOUR things would you take to a desert island?
Knives, seeds for planting, fishing line and matches.
- 2 Michelin Stars at Bon-Bon | The Michelin Guide France 2014-2019
- 1 Michelin Star at Bon-Bon | The Michelin Guide France 2004-2013
- “Delta d’Or” Award 2008
- Chef of the Year 2008 | Gault & Millau
Avenue de Tervueren 453
1150 Woluwé Saint Pierre
Tel: +32 2 346 66 15
Images © Stephanie Derouaux, Hungry For More Magazine and Luc Viatour