News > A Belgian chef defies the pandemic with a camper van “drive-in”

A Belgian chef defies the pandemic with a camper van “drive-in”

AFP
 - 18/12/2020

Unable to open his restaurant due to the pandemic, a Belgian chef had the bright idea of turning his carpark into a restaurant where guests are served in their camper vans.

"We have come to the only restaurant in Belgium that is still open thanks to a unique idea that immediately bowled us over,” confided Françoise Gendebien, digging into a seafood platter while seated with her husband in their vehicle.

That evening a dozen or so camper vans were parked in front of the Matthias and Sea gastronomic restaurant in Tarcienne in Namur (southern Belgium).

There is no risk of contamination, the waiter brings out the dishes, covered in aluminium foil, straight from the kitchen, whilst respecting all the appropriate safety measures.

Inside, social distancing is maintained because it’s like being at home, but with a difference.

Chef Mattia Collu has turned his carpark into a restaurant, even a hotel, as clients can spend the night here – he also rents out camper vans if necessary.

He got the idea when doing home deliveries, because like many restaurants, take away meals have been the only way to continue to do business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noticed all the camper vans parked in his clients’ yards and thought to himself: “why wrap everything up and transport it individually to each home when people could just as easily come to us and enjoy the comfort of their own camper van?”

This Belgian’s new take on the drive-in concept has proved a hit with his customers who can’t wait to get out of their homes, all the more so as the camper van phenomenon is enjoying a boom period in Europe.

“We can at last go out for a meal, even if it is at our own table. But the service is impeccable, at least we hope so,” said smiling André Deckx at the wheel of his camper van, as he and his wife pulled into the carpark.

 

(Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP )