A multi-award winning chef applauded for her original culinary creations, Belgian Sofie Dumont represents the gastronomic renewal of a Belgium in full transformation. Portrait.
Voted Lady Chef of The Year in 2009, Belgian Sofie Dumont is the cooking star of the flat country. Hyperactive and ultra-connected, she delights the 71,000 or so followers of her Instagram account with a new recipe every week and is on several cooking show juries. On Top Chef Belgium since the start of the year, she now continues with the barbecue-theme Grillmasters alongside chef Benjamin Laborie. “They call us Beauty and the Beast, but watch out: I’m the Beast!” she laughs. Bubbly and openhearted, this chef in the spotlight shares her thoughts with us.
What type of chef are you?
I love food and I love to cook with people, never alone. It’s a real moment of sharing and joie de vivre. No one in my family had a restaurant, but my father and my two grandmothers loved the local cuisine, without all the smoke and mirrors. For me, every dish is a party! When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I was too creative for that. So, I ended up spending six years in a hospitality management school to learn all the trades of the restaurant business. After three years, I decided to specialize in cooking. Since then, I’ve worked in Michelin-star restaurants, opened my own restaurant and become the proud mother of a little girl. When I became a mother, I started my Instagram account and workshop sessions, notably for mothers in search of easy and healthy recipes for children. I’m a chef, so I know what to do when I open a fridge. But for women who work full-time and have to make dinner when they get home, it’s another story. I think social networks are great for this, because I get instant feedback.
See this publication on Instagram
What dish put you on the map as a chef?
Definitely one of my grandmother’s dishes: Toetjespap! It’s potato with buttermilk. It’s fresh and bitter at the same time, with poached eggs for body and hand-peeled shrimp that you finish in beurre noisette. This dish is an explosion of flavors. When my sister came to my restaurant for the first time and tried it, she couldn’t hold back her tears: it’s our Proust madeleine!
What dish did best on your Instagram account?
My cuisine is eclectic, so I like to make a bit of everything. In fact, I find the hashtag #DoNormal fantastic! But I have to admit that my vegan cheesecake was an especially big hit with the younger crowd. It’s a lifestyle that really interests them.
What is your relationship with fashion?
It’s like my relationship with cooking: eclectic. In fashion and food, I like the details. And it turns out that American Vintage spends a lot of time on details. There’s always the perfect little collar or the cuff placed just so… The choice of fabrics is as important for them as textures in the mouth are for me. This strikes a chord with me. And I like comfort, just like them. For me, it was obvious that I had to collaborate with American Vintage for my new show Grillmasters.
The American Vintage piece that you can’t do without?
I particularly like their straight denim overshirt, which I can also wear with a belt.
AMV Journal is a space dedicated to encounters, discovery and travel. Every week, explore the musts, portraits and inspirations of American Vintage and its creation studio.