Press kit
Brussels, 23 June 2015
Tram Experience Season 4 - "Lady Chefs"
A very gentle theme
For its fourth season, visit.brussels is bringing back the Tram Experience from 21 August 2015 to 17
July 2016. Throughout the season foodie passengers will embark on a maiden voyage through the
heart of cuisine offered by the best lady chefs.
Many of today's big name chefs were captivated early in life by the pleasant aromas wafting from the
kitchens of their mothers and grandmothers, those humble magicians of daily grub. They definitely
knew how to get the most out of a simple stew, a frugal handful of vegetables fresh from the garden,
or a comforting sweet, which was all the better for all the love they put into it.
This honest family cuisine inspired many of these chefs to embark on their career paths. While the
men and women of today both do the cooking at home, too few women are calling the shots in our
best restaurants.
Women's cuisine is nonetheless rich in the subtleties and emotions we wish to share through the
different menus that will be offered on board the Tram Experience during this 2015-2016 season.
In keeping with the spirit of openness to the world that Brussels is known for, visit.brussels did not
merely request the kingdom's best lady chefs. It went above and beyond by calling upon the Délice
network of gourmet cities around the world. The line-up will thus combine the best with the best by
bringing in lady chefs from extremely diverse backgrounds.
And, as in every year, the Tram Experience also promises a few (heavenly) surprises.
All aboard!
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A rich and diverse line-up
As in every year, the season is comprised of a series of menus rotating every four to six weeks.
They are commissioned by the lady chefs and cooked on board by chef Denis Roberti who
practised the recipes with the appropriate chefs. Each menu is sampled in the studio and validated
by a tasting committee sponsored by chef Lionel Rigolet ** (Comme chez Soi, Brussels) prior to
being served on board the Tram Experience.
A prestigious ambassador of Belgian cuisine
Arabelle Meirlaen * (Arabelle Meirlaen intuitive cuisine, Marchin) will get the ball rolling this coming
21 August. This almost goes without saying since she is unquestionably Belgium's foremost lady chef,
as evidenced by her Chef of the Year 2014 title awarded by the Gault Millau Guide of Belgium. Her
cuisine is extremely personal and largely inspired by the plant kingdom so it seemed logical to open
the doors of the Tram Experience to her right away this summer at a time when nature is fully
expressing its flavourful richness and palette of many colours.
Local ingredients enhanced by a starred chef
Chef Mariangela Susigan * runs a restaurant called Gardenia, opened by her own mother in the
1970s. Located in Caluso, in the countryside northeast of Turin (Italy), the restaurant has its own
garden full of vegetables, herbs, and spices which play an essential role in this chef's cooking. Her
style draws its inspiration from Piedmontese cuisine, while prizing emotion and creativity.
Laurence's favourites
The holiday season promises to reveal one of the schedule's big surprises. This woman has away of
collecting stars, five in total, and yet she does not cook. Not a single customer of this great Belgian
eatery will have escaped her notice, and yet she is hardly ever mentioned. She has spent her life at
the side of two of the greatest Belgian chefs, but very few really know her. It's safe to say that
Laurence Rigolet, daughter of Pierre Wynants *** and wife of Lionel Rigolet **, does not like to be in
the spotlight. Nevertheless, she is the one who welcomes and takes care of each customer at Comme
chez Soi, the famous Brussels institution.
Visit.brussels asked her to dig into her countless memories and rustle up a menu combining some of
her favourite dishes. She was delighted to play along. You're sure to be dazzled by the result. Under
no circumstances should you miss this menu! It is a great way to bid farewell to 2015 in beauty and
elegance.
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Start-ups of Belgian cuisine
2016 will get off to an auspicious start. Stéphanie Thunus * and Mélanie Englebin, named Discovery
of the Year 2014 by the Gault Millau guide Belgium, are well acquainted and even went to school
together. One runs Au Gré du Vent out in the country in Seneffe, and the other operates Cécila, a
stone's throw from Grand-Place in Brussels. One draws inspiration from family farm ingredients while
the other is decidedly oriented towards the sea. Make no mistake: both run their respective
restaurants with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Their cuisine is meticulous, perfectionistic, and
inspired. They will author two menus where their dishes will intermingle with harmony and finesse.
Two of tomorrow's greats, the challenge is on!
A culinary icon still relevant today
Another new foray abroad with a legend of world gourmet history. However, nothing foreshadowed
that Eugénie Brazier, daughter of modest farmers born in Bresse just before the dawn of the 20 th
century, would become such a legend. Opening her restaurant in Lyon in 1921, Mother Brazier would
be the first woman to earn the highly sought-after three rosettes from the Michelin Guide in 1933.
She would also be the first two-time three-star winner with her restaurants in Lyon and neighbouring
Col de la Luère. It would take more than a half-century for such a feat to be repeated by the great
Alain Ducasse.
Again it would be with her that a young Paul Bocuse, just back from the war, would learn the
fundamentals of his trade while minding the cows, doing the washing up, and tending the vegetable
garden. Mother Brazier is no longer with us but her image lives on under the leadership of one of
France's most talented chefs: Mathieu Viannay **. Chef Viannay, with his two stars and membership
in the Grandes Tables du Monde, bought the La Mère Brazier restaurant in 2008 in Lyon, and
modernized it without forsaking its roots. The famous spring chicken in half-mourning, Eugénie
Brazier's signature dish, is still there but now shares the stage with chef Viannay's more modern
offerings.
The Swedish-Mexican menu, a contrast of flavours
The menu - Puebla (Mexico) and Göteborg (Sweden)- will be one of great contrasts. Two cities that
seem to have nothing in common, two chefs from very different backgrounds, terroirs combining
land and sea, the Mexican sun and the harsh climate of Scandinavia.
Yet now cuisine is universal and these regions some of the most interesting chefs of our foodie
world. Menus that will certainly be full of high-flying discoveries with Liz Galicia (El Mural de los
Poblanos) for Puebla and Karin Andersson (Toso) for Göteborg.
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North and South, an unprecedented collision of gourmet worlds
Next up is a new North-South culinary collision. Dishes coming from radically different places whose
only common thread is the gourmet excellence that the Tram Experience requires.
On one side, the Cape Winelands (South Africa) are a cluster of villages located in the heart of South
Africa's most beautiful wine growing region and one of the most beautiful areas in all of Africa, just a
few kilometres from the Cape. The village of Franschhoek, once founded by Huguenots who fled
France, has kept the French way of life close to its heart. There you can find many vineyards bearing
French names and some of the country's best restaurants. Chef Michelle Theron runs a restaurant in
one of these wine-growing areas : La Motte. It is one of the country's ten best eateries, and for many
it will be an opportunity to discover South African cuisine largely unknown to the general public.
On the other side, another woman of excellence, Svetlana Riškova, chef of Elements restaurant in
Riga, the capital of Latvia. Svetlana has made her presence felt as one of the shining lights of Baltic
cuisine, which is expressive and very close to nature and is full of surprises. Beyond the geographical
contrasts, these two menus will offer above all a contrast of terroirs to be discovered right away.
An unparalleled culinary stage designer
To close out the season on a beautiful note, the Tram Experience has called upon a somewhat
unexpected individual: the Belgian Bénédicte Bantuelle is not, strictly speaking, a chef. She defines
herself more as an Artistic Director, a stage designer whose purview extends well beyond the
kitchen. Bénédicte considers cooking to be an entirely separate artistic discipline. Only recently has
she started to apply her multifaceted gourmet talent for the benefit of Agence La Bouche, which
creates culinary concepts.
She is also Damien Bouchery's partner. Together they cofounded the Bouchéry restaurant that has
without a doubt become one of the most desirable places to dine in Brussels today. At Bouchéry, the
approach is reflected in even the most minor of details: house breads and cheeses, natural wines,
cuisine that is totally in step with meticulously selected seasonal products. Bénédicte had carte
blanche to write the season's last menu.
It's highly likely she'll be inspired by Damien's cuisine but also that she'll surprise with her inspired
and unbounded vision of tabletop delights in a 360° approach.
Other enticing names will also be unveiled over the coming weeks.
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A few key figures
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10,000 to 12,000 meals are served on board each year;
Nearly 300 tours per year;
More than 25,000 km covered since the project was launched;
Service is offered year round from August to July, six days a week;
Six people on board: 1 driver, 2 individuals in the kitchen, 3 in the dining room;
Already more than € 8,000 paid to Samusocial to date.
An enlightening customer satisfaction survey
Visit.brussels carried out an in-depth satisfaction survey throughout the 2014-15 season with tram
clientele. After three seasons, it seemed like a good time to prepare a preliminary report to take
stock of the public's expectations, evaluations, and criticisms in an objective manner.
Here are a few particularly eloquent figures that resulted:
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68% of the clientele is between 25 and 49 years of age;
the unique concept, favourable word-of-mouth, and the Tram Experience's visibility are the
main reasons customers reserve a table;
95% are satisfied with their experience;
The best general rating is given to the on board service with 97% satisfaction;
The dishes do not disappoint with 94% of customers satisfied;
One in ten customers selected the vegetarian menu;
97% of customers would recommend the Tram Experience to others.
visit.brussels is obviously very pleased with these results which encourage them to continue the
same way. In addition, the comments provided have led to some new items for these year, as
unveiled below.
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New for 2015-2016
The "Tram" and "Experience" menus
The major innovation for the next season is the menu which will now be broken down into two plans.
The "Tram" menu corresponds to the current version, that is, six courses (three appetizers, first
course, main course, dessert, bubbly, water and wine as desired). This menu will however be capped
off with after dinner drinks following the meal.
The "Experience" menu addresses a comment made by some customers who would have preferred
a longer gourmet experience exceeding the 2–2.25 hours currently offered. As a result, a longer
session will be scheduled each Friday from now on. This one will include an additional dish for a total
of seven courses (three appetizers, two entrées, a main course, and a dessert), still accompanied
with water and wine and served over the course of more than half an hour. The "Experience" set
menu will follow a somewhat different route to Dumon Square in Stockel. Here, too, an after dinner
drink will complete the set menu.
It is the chef of the Tram Experience, Denis Roberti, who will author this additional dish, allowing
everyone to discover the uncommon talent of this chef who has been preparing all of the recipes
from the numerous starred chefs represented on board for three seasons.
The guest table
Another innovation has already been tested on a small scale last season and will be fully
implemented this year. This is the guest table. This four-person table with host two couples who do
not know one another at a discount price. Each seat sells for € 10 less per person than the regular
price. Given the success of this configuration, it will be extended throughout the new season.
Appetizer
Finally, since women are being honoured this year, Audrey Lenoir, former Masterchef contestant
and Delhaize brand ambassador, has been asked to design the first appetizer of each menu. She will
put her creativity to use at Delhaize, a loyal partner of the Tram Experience, whose best products she
makes even better based on the seasons and her own inspiration.
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On board service provided by a young team
Visit.brussels is extremely satisfied with the very good rating earned by the on board staff in the
satisfaction survey. Since the project began in 2012, on board service has been handled by ten young
people from Brussels who initially did not have any special training. The Tram Experience turned out
to be an excellent training programme for them and many are being recruited by the gourmet
restaurants of Brussels.
This modest contribution to the Brussels job market for young people means a great deal to the Tram
Experience's overall mission and it will always have confidence in these young people who are so
good at pampering the customers.
Practical information
General information and reservations
New website starting 23 June for the fourth season: www.tramexperience.be .
Schedules
Seven tours are offered each week. All tours depart from Poelaert Square.
Departure time
8:00 PM
8:00 PM
8:00 PM
8:00 PM
6:30 PM and 9:30 PM
7:00 PM (Summer schedule)
Sunday
or 12:00 PM (Winter schedule)
* Priority is given to private events on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Tuesday*
Wednesday*
Thursday*
Friday
Saturday
A general calendar is online at the Tram Experience's website.
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Route Tram type
Rates
Six course "Tram" menu € 95 (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees
Seven course "Experience" menu 115€ (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees
(Fridays)
Guest table sold with at discount of € 10 per person
What's included in the price?
"Tram" menu:
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Six courses (three appetizers and three dishes (first course, main course, dessert)
Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
An after dinner drink
"Experience" menu:
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Seven courses (three appetizers and four dishes (two entrées, main course,
dessert)
Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
An after dinner drink
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Tour duration
Tram menu: approximately 2 hours – 2 hours 10 minutes
Experience menu: approximately 2 hours 45 minutes
Nearby parking: Poelaert Interparking
Menu variations
At the time of reservation, it is possible to select a vegetarian menu. Given the limited space
available in the tram's on board kitchen, it is unfortunately not possible to grant specific
requests relative to possible food allergies.
Reservations
How do reservations work?
Given the very significant number of Tram Experience reservation requests, it is
unfortunately not possible to hold places without immediate payment. Payment can be
made online only using a credit or debit card. Customers may also visit the visit.brussels
welcome centres to make payment in person.
Is it possible to reserve for three people or another number?
The Tram Experience is not designed for odd numbered reservations; the tables are set up to
host two or four people. In addition, it is not possible to rearrange tables because they are
fixed in place.
Tram capacity : 34 seats (7 tables of 2, and 5 tables of 4)
On board personnel
One host, two servers, a chef and assistant, and, of course, the driver. All Tram Experience
drivers are volunteers and have been selected based on their great skill at driving
appropriately in all circumstances.
On board WC
One WC is available during the tour
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Partners
Tram Experience partners are often long-term partners. This year they are:
 The Brussels Region – Capital
 The STIB for making tram 7601 available and the daily service it handles with competence
and enthusiasm.
 Delhaize for the wines served on board and the appetizer designed by Audrey Lenoir
 Casillero del Diablo for the sparkling wine that kicks off each meal.
 Bru for the still and sparkling water served during the meal.
 Electrolux for the appliances installed in the onboard kitchen.
 The Délice network and its gourmet cities for their assistance in scheduling the chefs.
 RTL for its unconditional media support.
Media information
Online photo library
http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/front/user/displayLogin.do
Login: [email protected]
Password: press
Search: Tram Experience
Copyright notation: ©visit.brussels
Media contact
Martha Meeze: +32 486 53 31 81 - [email protected]
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Tram Experience Season 4 - "Lady Chefs"