Masterchef S03 ep10 : Yves Mattagne, Restaurant Sea Grill, [Brussels]

Interview with Angela Hartnett

Yves Mattagne is a Belgium-born chef critically acclaimed for his dishes at the Sea Grill, one of Brussels’ top restaurants. His abilities and deep affinity with the ingredients paved the path towards the gold medal at the concourse European fish chef competition in 1992. Later, from 1993 to 1999, he was successively awarded the Chef d'Or Gault Millau and L'Oscar Cuisinier by Le Club des Gastronomes de Belgique. At Gourmet Abu Dhabi, diners will be able to taste Mattagne’s awesome seafood cuisine, and understand why he is a two-Michelin-starred chef.


The restaurant Sea Grill is the fish, all about the sea.

I’m start 20 year ago with the concept of fish restaurant, you have only two meat on the menu
and the rest is all about the sea. Fish, Crustacean, Scallops, when people is coming in the Sea
Grill they are thinking about fish.

For me the product is the more important things in my cooking. I want people have the fish first
on the plate and the rest is the creation of the chef.

When I’m eight year old I’m go on holiday in the coast of Belgium in Dunberg and my family
have three restaurant, the side of my mum and I think the passion is come from over there.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

I never go in school for cooking. I’m start working in the kitchen 16 year old. I’m never work in
after that in the family restaurant. I’m starting a small country in Belgium. I work in Paris. I
work in London.

One chef made the big difference for me when I start is Michel Tren, the chef of the Hilton
Brussels where I work seven year you know and I’m passed bancquetting, I make coffee shop, I
make gatronomic restaurant, I want to stay in the hotel.

In the hotel you see so many different things every day and when you travelling more and more
and I’m thinking with the company possibly I’m travelling you know so I’m starting the Hilton.
Before I start here, I was supposed to go to Sydney for the Hilton, but I cancelled at the last
minute because I work in London and the group of Radisson hotels gives me a good opportunity
to open new restaurant in Brussels.

I go six months in Michel Bells, is two star Michelin in Belgium and Mr Divalec in Paris, Mr
Divalec is two start Michelin and is have a fish restaurant. I’m work eight months with him
before opening this restaurant and I’m thinking that’s the passion of the fish coming out of

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Today the chef is need to cook, have creativity and be a manager because today when you see
all the chefs in the world you have big team. I have more than one restaurant, I have lot of
business outside of the Sea Grill, you need to have the sense of businessman too you know. It’s
not only the kitchen any more now.

When I buy Turbot you know it’s Turbot it’s 9kg, 10kg, now you find Turbot 5kg, 3kg, for me
3kg the Turbot is not ready. I’m very strict with the supplier because I want the best quality. I
no have, I no have, is making the menu Suivant Arrivage [what is available]

I not made the creation like that you know. When I’m travelling and when I’m in my kitchen I
have just an idea, I write on the paper in my office I have three trays. I put it on the first one and
two weeks after I take the paper and I read it and if I think, no that’s totally crazy that is never
work, I put in the bin. When is I think ; oh yes, something is good , it could work and three time,
when last time I work on that I no stay on table and make the creativity, no it’s coming like that
all the time.

I’m travelling a lot everywhere in the world because I have so many restaurants. The Basic is in
Brussels is the Sea Grill. One restaurant in Shanghai, one in Peking. I have Bordeaux, Berlin
for the Radisson, my own school in Belgium is open for 10 year now.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

It's a private school, it's for everybody like the doctor, like a lawyer, any people want to come
in to learn cooking you know with a lot of concept for so many different concept to proposition
of the guests and the school is full.

When you’re travelling you have some idea of the culture and the perfume of the product of the
country and I try to take the product of everywhere in the world to put in my creation of the
restaurant of today. It’s true, I have a lot of different flavour Asiatic, Thai, India in my cooking.
the evolution of the cooking today is because all the chef travelling and molecular is another

You use the vacuum pack for long time ago. It’s not new, I work with it for 30 year already with
the vacuum packed. N ow the technology is more easy to work, now you have so many product
to make the beautiful cooking I think now is more easy of before.

We have a lot of Belgium dish, we the product of Belgsch. We have the grey shrimps and we
have the sol austandaise, is some country in Belgium side of the coast you have Flemish style
and Walanese style where people speak French, then you have the Waterzoi - the Flemish bar,
you have Cardamon Flemon is Flemish style and you have one only dish with pheasant a la
Gravorson that is more with the endives cooking slowly with the pheasant.

For the guests is coming all the time I need to stay a little bit more classic with my best seller. If
we have some clientele is coming for the menu degustation, more crazy thing on the menu more
yeah more creative.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

No I’m very happy about the business, with consulting, what’s happened the world is more
difficult for a restaurant. In Belgium the law is very difficult to work , the tax the is too high.
You know you have 20 VAT today you go in France now you have 6% of the VAT.

I make some big event in China for big supplier of nice clothes, I not say the name, I make one
dinner for 600 people, very important, with Chef Dinner of China. When I’m going to make the
menu in Belgium I have 20 staff in the kitchen. There I have three hundred staff in the kitchen
to cook for the 600 guests. I’m saying why I need so many staff to make 600 people, it’s like
that I never seen in my life. I have too much people and nothing to do, not possible to make
every person seem to work.

Here you have 65 people to seat, you have 12 people in the kitchen, okay some restaurant have
50 people in the kitchen for 50 people, okay today is impossible. For the company I need to
make some profit, I need to make, be careful with the cost the food and the payroll.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Yves Mattagne, Restaurant Sea Grill, [Brussels]