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Florent Ladeyn: The Local Commitments

Le 30 April 2024

Florent Ladeyn is a man in motion. A man who never stops, always advancing, shaking things up, tackling challenges. The Flemish rugby player with a collective spirit and hyperactive drive continues to expand the Vert-Mont galaxy and invent new paths. A meeting with a committed serial entrepreneur.

Florent Ladeyn is a man in motion. A man who never stops, always advancing, shaking things up, tackling challenges. The Flemish rugby player with a collective spirit and hyperactive drive continues to expand the Vert-Mont galaxy and invent new paths. A meeting with a committed serial entrepreneur.

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You opened two new addresses in 2023, a second Bierbuik in Béthune and Klok in Brussels. Was this expansion necessary for the balance of your ecosystem?

We are significant economic players. But if we truly want to have an impact on a regional scale, we need to offer even more solutions. So yes, these openings are necessary, for us and for our environment. Producers need our support, whether we consume the right products, primarily local and then as much as possible grown organically, in permaculture, independently. At Vert-Mont, this has been our commitment from the start. If my business doesn't succeed, I'm in trouble, but if the farmers we work with disappear, it's game over. I'm not going to switch suppliers to save on prices, I'm not going to betray our principles. The crisis is here, we've been feeling its effects strongly for two years, energy costs are soaring, as are raw material costs. My response is to move forward, with these openings but also with the creation of our production workshop in Boeschepe.

This workshop is unique in its design. What is it about?

We took over the warehouses of the former potato sack factory in the village to make it our base camp. We bake our bread there, brew our beers, and centralize preparations. For example, instead of making 20 liters of meat juice in each restaurant, we make 200 liters that will be even better because the base will cook longer and gain intensity. It also facilitates deliveries from our suppliers. Instead of wasting precious time driving between different locations, they bring everything here and we manage the rest. Our entire logistics is redesigned, with sufficient production capacity to supply our restaurants but also colleagues in the region.

Alain Ducasse visited you a few days ago. Is he a role model for you?

He's definitely someone to look up to. As an entrepreneur, as a chef. We're going to be part of his project at the Louvre, taking over the Malian café, at the entrance to the wing of the Mona Lisa. I showed him the workshop, our way of working. He appreciated the ambition and approach. He quickly understood the meaning of it all, as well as the challenges it raises. 2023 was a particularly difficult year, due to the economic context but also because of the departure of my long-time partner. We had to rethink our entire structure, adapt, change plans, all while running five establishments and managing a team of 90 people. Winston Churchill said not to waste a good crisis, we're going to use this one to the fullest. I'm not the type to let myself be beaten down, the victory will be all the sweeter and I think Alain Ducasse has also experienced setbacks, but he always stayed on course. I do the same.

The restaurant industry is facing another crisis, a human one. Hours, working conditions are being questioned by the new generation. How do you deal with this?

It's a global phenomenon, everyone sees it. We can't go against this evolution. There's no point in fighting against legitimate aspirations. In our restaurants, we're implementing a four-day week, so that people feel good about their job, that they come to work with enthusiasm and passion. Our teams are totally in this spirit, they're doing a great job.

What about you, do you ever see yourself slowing down and taking a step back?

Not for now. We're just getting started, we're learning to walk. That's how I feel anyway. There are big investments to amortize, loans to repay, and no business angel behind to bail out mistakes. Sometimes I dream of a cabin in the Jura or in Norway, with a fishing rod, but before that, we still have to stay on course and continue to build.

Always in Flanders, close to your roots? Is that a common thread in all your restaurants?

A common thread, I don't know. I'm not going to put flags everywhere, that would be indecent. But I'm proud to be Flemish, I say it loud and clear. Not in the sense of a radical political claim, I'm not an independentist. I'm rooted in my territory, I'm happy here, I thrive here, I love to discover it and know that in Marseille they now know where culinary Flanders is. But I refuse for my local fight to be associated with identity movements. My roots allow me to have a foundation, a balance, to see further, to look elsewhere. Without fear, neither of the other, nor of the future. I want to continue to move forward and show that we can learn to live better together.

Réalisé par Peyo Lissarague

© Florian Domergue

Le Vert Mont puissance 5

L'Auberge du Vert Mont
1318 Rue du Mont Noir
59299 Boeschepe
vermont.fr

40 years of dedicated service, atop the hills of the French Flanders. Florent Laden took over his parents' inn and guided it through the transition to intelligent locavorism. Generous and talented, his cuisine paints another world there, a better one, so much better.

Bloempot
22 Rue des Bouchers
59800 Lille
bloempot.fr

In the heart of Lille, it's been 10 years already since the charming 'pot de fleurs' (literal translation from Dutch) led in the kitchen by the formidable chef Florence, never fails to attract guests. A lesson in conviviality and mastery.

Bierbuik Lille
19 Rue Royale
59000 Lille
bierbuik.fr

What if we opened a Estaminet Brewpub in the city center? Funky Flemish street food and impeccable brews, all at affordable prices for everyone. The attempt could only be successful.

Bierbuik Béthune
10 Grand Place
62400 Béthune 
03 21 68 09 88
bierbuik.fr

While waiting for Dunkirk, it was under the shadow of the beautiful belfry of Béthune that Bierbuik made its first foray. An incursion into Pas-de-Calais with the same punchy formula, featuring fries with Maroilles cheese and homemade beers.

Klok
Pl. Rouppe 10
1000 Bruxelles
+32 2 899 90 22
klokbrussel.be

The latest addition to the Ladeynian universe breaks free from borders. Between the Gare du Midi and the Grand Place of Brussels, Klok shakes up the European capital, with the excellent Jordan Joubert in the kitchen.

 

 

The Revue T, a partnership between Omnivore and Transgourmet, explores and showcases the world of producers and chefs through debates, portraits and reports that make it truly unique.