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In Belgium, only 45 minutes from Luxembourg city, discover the world of Belgian chef Maxime Nizette. Trained by René Mathieu and Anne-Sophie Pic, the chef recently opened his own table d’hôte, where he offers a gourmet and atypical cuisine in a friendly and cosy setting.
Direction Étalle, in the province of Luxembourg. After two years of work on an ancient farmhouse, chef Maxime Nizette opened his table d’hôte and micro farm in October. “At Origine, I prefer a rustic chic cuisine”. When you get to know the chef’s background a little better, this term makes perfect sense.
Trained by starred chefs in Belgium (La Grappe d’Or), Luxembourg and France, Maxime Nizette has acquired solid experience in haute-gastronomy. However, at 33 years old, this passionate chef was ready to create a place that would reflect his personality.
Eager to offer local products, the chef wants to achieve an almost self-sufficient food supply (on a small scale). On the micro-farm site, you will already find chickens, lambs, rabbits, but also a large vegetable garden with seasonal produce. By next year, he hopes to triple the size of the garden to increase the production of fruits and vegetables.
For animal proteins, the chef favours local products, as for example for the fish on his menu. Indeed, he proposes freshwater fish such as trout or crayfish. Therefore, there is not much chance of finding salmon!!
After several years as René Mathieu’s sous-chef at the Château de Bourglinster, Maxime has also developed a real interest in plant-based cooking. Without advocating all-vegetable food, his acquired knowledge is put to good use in a flexitarian approach. “I also regularly pick wild plants, something I learned during my years at Bourglinster”, Maxime proudly explains.
In the restaurant, two large tables for 6 to 8 people are set around a fireplace. “We wanted shared tables for more conviviality, and people seem to appreciate it! The more the meal progresses, the more they exchange with each other”, says the chef. The original wood fire fireplace gives the place an intimacy and warmth, but not only that… ” I cook directly in the fireplace, in front of the guests, because I love bringing a touch of smoke into my cooking, which for me gives depth to the dishes, and an atypical touch.” Conviviality also means that the chef is constantly present in the dining room to present the dishes, explain the origin of the products worked on and the techniques used.
Open only on Friday and Saturday nights, the menu changes weekly. “Every Wednesday night I announce the weekend menu. I never offer the same dishes.” There is a choice of a 3 or 4 course menu based on the chef’s imagination of dishes using local seasonal produce. For starters, the “oeuf parfait” is the chef’s signature dish. “It is the dish I made during the TV show My Tiny Restaurant (editor’s note: where he was a finalist) and many customers come for this recipe. So I decided to make it a permanent course on the menu, while working on it in a different way every week.”
As far as drinks are concerned, the chef dares to offer only Belgian products, such as wines, spirits, digestifs and of course beers, all from microbreweries. “Customers are usually pleasantly surprised by my proposals, and that’s exactly what I’m looking for: a positive wow!” explains the chef.
Chef Maxime Nizette’s concept is set to expand as he hopes to open a bed and breakfast in one of the house’s annexes very soon. “We have drawn up the plans with an architect and we will soon be launching a crowdfunding campaign to finance this project,” says the chef. This guest room will be just like the rest of the place, a comfortable space in an authentic place, to spend a relaxing moment.
For more information, visit the restaurant’s Facebook or Instagram page.