Executive Chef-Owner / Belga Café / Betsy
A master of traditional Belgian cuisine with a flair for provocative dishes, Vandaele is a contestant on season 10 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.” “I’ve become known as ‘the Belgian guy’ for putting Belgian food on the map in D.C.,” he says.
The Belgian-born chef opened his first restaurant in 2004, the wildly successful Belga Cafe, in 2015 he expanded his businesses with the opening of the summer garden, rooftop bar, The Betsy.
His career began at the “Ter Groene Poorte”, the Culinary Institute for Restaurant and Hotel Management in Brugge. He then worked for renowned Belgian restaurants, including Piet Huysentruyt and Restaurant Scholteshof, served under respected Chef Roger Souvereyns, and served as executive chef for the European Union’s head diplomat to the U.S. and later the Dutch Embassy.
Vandaele’s accomplishments include: Rising Star by StarChefs.com; ‘Knighthood’ by the Museum of Belgian Brewers and the Brewers Guild of Belgium; awarded the Belgian decoration “Ridder in de Orde van Leopold II” or “Knight in the Order of Leopold II;” Master Cook of Belgium; Beer Bar of the Year by Cheers magazine; awarded “Wine Excellence Award” by Wine Spectator in 2013; established Belgian Restaurant Week in 2011; National Brand Ambassador for Belgium brews Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Leffe Blonde and Brune, featured by the James Beard Foundation for dinner events in James Beard House in 2007 and 2015.