Brussels Resto // Rising star makes culinary waves
Eat & Drink
by Brussels In View
It is always nice to acclaim a rising superstar and Fela Herzog is one such person.
He is the chef at “Joseph”, which is a new Brussels restaurant. He is making big in the culinary world.
Fela is the most likely person you will meet when you visit this pleasant restaurant.
You can find his workstation, the kitchen, right at the entrance.
He won’t be able to stop talking, as he is focused on creating delicious dishes in his open-plan kitchen.
The restaurant opened just a few months ago and Fela, along with the “management” team of four, is one reason for its success.
His backstory, which is only 31 years old, is fascinating and as diverse as it gets. Born in Kenya, he has lived in various places including Venice, Barcelona, and North Carolina. Before moving to Brussels, he worked in the kitchen of a five-star hotel in Milan. He then worked as a chef at a vegan restaurant in Brussels.
He could have lost his cooking skills to the sector, as he was studying to become an airline pilot. He chose to pursue the culinary trade instead.
Alex Joseph, one the four Joseph owners, recalls being impressed with Fela from the moment he interviewed for the job.
As a trial, Fela cooked Alex a 5-course meal. After a brief chat, Alex was certain that he had found his man.
Alex said: “He is truly amazing, and I want him to grow and see his potential come into fruition.”
Fela shared the secret to his success with this website: “I’m still trying to define my style, but you could say that it’s a mix of inspirations.”
It was supposed to open in autumn last year, but it had a bad start. The restaurant opened just before Christmas because of the ongoing renovations. It could be called a Christmas gift for Brussels.
After a conversation between Joseph’s two other friends, the idea was born. John Karwan, Thierry Naoum were good friends and had known each other for almost 40 years.
John, who owned his Uccle business, was eager to “reinvent himself” and suggested the idea of opening a restaurant. He passed the idea on to Thierry, who was enthusiastic about it.
Once spotting the potential site, work quickly began on turning what was once a somewhat rundown bar in Place Chatelain, into a pleasant, comfortable restaurant.
John says, “I had the idea during lockdown, and it’s been a real adventure, for me as well, but I am very proud of what we have achieved here.”
John, Thierry, and Alex, along with a fourth partner Alain Bau, took a small risk opening a new restaurant after the horrible pandemic that decimated many restaurants.
However, their new venture is doing well, and quickly gaining a reputation for great food.
Although the menu is short, it’s very creative and includes some delicious dishes. Tapas-style tapas are great for sharing. Mains include beef cheek, lamb shank, and T-bone steak. You can also choose from one of two small beef burgers or two veggie burgers.
There are a few fish choices, including gambas and Octopus. You also have the option of nice desserts and an impressive (and very long!) wine and drink list.
This is a miniature United Nations. John is from Belgium, Thierry is from Morocco and Alex is from California. Alain is from Asia.
John believes that the success of the new restaurant is due to the fact that each of the four owners have their own businesses and expertise.
We have a lot trust in each other and there are no egos. This is what you might refer to as a “love thing” and we do it out of love.
There are 42 seats inside the restaurant. The terrace is also available. Monday through Sunday, it is closed.
Pl du Chatelain 47, Ixelles
T. +32 (0)468 0764