Dining and Down Syndrome, a winning combination for Brussels restaurant

by Reuters
Monday, 25 November 2019 12:12 GMT

Steen Swalus, a server at the Belgian restaurant "65 degres" serves a customer at the restaurant in Brussels, Belgium November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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The restaurant was set up by four entrepreneurs with backgrounds in cooking and social care. It serves up high-end French-style food in the Belgian capital's hip Chatelain district.

By Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf

BRUSSELS, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Brussels restaurant 65 Degres has become the city's best-rated eatery, largely thanks to rave reviews of its staff, most of whom have Down Syndrome.

The restaurant - part fine-dining establishment, part social inclusion project - ranks first out of more than 2,000 competitors listed on review site TripAdvisor.

Clemence Poncelet, a server at the Belgian restaurant "65 degres" carries utensils, in Brussels, Belgium November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

"The customers are here to see us and to savour the restaurant's atmosphere and gastronomy," said waitress Marie-Sophie Lamarche.

"It is a lot of pressure. We are proud of ourselves," added Lamarche, who has Down Syndrome.

Steen Swalus, waiter at the Belgian restaurant "65 degres" poses for a picture in the restaurant in Brussels, Belgium November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

The restaurant - named after the perfect temperature to cook an egg - was set up by four entrepreneurs with backgrounds in cooking and social care. It serves up high-end French-style food in the Belgian capital's hip Chatelain district.

The idea was to give people the skills to break into the hospitality business, co-founder founder, Adelaide Aymer, told Reuters.

"We work with people who are so happy to be working, so they have this pleasure of coming to work every day," fellow founder Valentin Cogels told Reuters.

(Writing by Jonas Ekblom, Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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