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Bart Vandaele

Belga Café

514 8th Street SE
Washington DC
(202) 544-0100

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Bart Vandaele
Belga Café | Washington DC

Raised in the kitchen of his family’s restaurant in Belgium, Bart Vandaele’s favorite playground has always been the kitchen, where as a toddler pots and pans were his toys. At only 12, Vandaele enrolled at the Culinary Institute for Restaurant and Hotel Management in Brugge, Belgium, where he embarked on a six year program of academics and culinary externships in both cuisine and pastry at Michelin-starred Belgian restaurants. After school, Vandaele spent a year at the Zeebrugge Naval Base working as a line cook at the officer’s kitchen before taking on a commis chef position at the one Michelin-starred Piet Huysentruyt in Wortegem-Petegem, Belgium. After three years of work under Huysentruty, Vandaele was moved up to Second Chef, responsible for the kitchen in the chef’s absence and teaching cooking classes. He held the position for three years before moving to two Michelin-starred Restaurant Scholteshof in Hasselt where he held a Sous Chef position for a year under the renowned Roger Souvereyns. As Executive Chef of Belga Cafe in DC, Vandaele uses American and Asian ingredients to build dishes that celebrate the rich history of Belgian cuisine and beer.


Cervena Venison Couscous Waffle with Fresh Herbs and Mushrooms
Chef Bart Vandaele of Belga Café – Washington, D.C.
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 4 Servings


    Cervena Venison:
  • 2 pounds Cervena venison leg
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sage, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon mint, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon basil, chopped

    Valrhona Xocopili-Venison Sauce:
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 slice bacon, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme, stemmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 250 grams dark Belgian ale
  • 1 Liter venison stock
  • 200 grams heavy cream
  • 100 grams Valrhona Xocopili chocolate, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • Olive oil, to cover
  • 500 grams fresh wild mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil

  • 200 grams chicken stock
  • 200 grams couscous
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

  • 1 Liter waffle batter

For the Venison:
Rub olive oil all over the venison and season liberally with salt and pepper and rollin in herbs. Cover the venison and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once smoking slightly, sear the tenderloin on all sides. Roast for approximately 30 minutes or until it reaches desired temperature. Allow to rest for at least ten minutes then slice into four portions. Reserve warm.

For the Valrhona Xocopili-Venison Sauce:
Brown the shallots and bacon then add the herbs and sweat for about a minute. Deglaze with the beer and reduce to a syrup consistency. Add the stock and turn down the heat. After a few minutes, add the cream and allow to reduce. Once the sauce is reduced to taste, strain through a chinois and emulsify with chocolate using a hand blender. Keep warm until serving.

For the Mushrooms:
Confit the garlic and shallots by cooking in olive oil at a very low temperature for two hours. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in butter and season with salt, pepper, curry and sage. Add garlic, shallot confit and hazelnut oil.

For the Couscous:
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the couscous. Remove from the heat and let swell for five minutes. Add the fresh herbs.

To Assemble and Serve:
Mix the waffle batter, mushrooms and couscous together until smooth. Bake in a waffle machine and top with sliced venison and Xocopili-Venison Sauce. Serve hot.

Beer Pairing:

Corsendonk Beer, Belgium

   Published: October 2006