As a child, he wanted to be a pharmacist. Today? Sang Hoon Degeimbre is a double Michelin-starred chef! Every day, he takes care to satisfy our gourmet appetites and our thirst for discovery in his restaurant, L'Air du Temps.
He has been working on this project since he started out in the restaurant business, where he first stood out as a sommelier. Sang Hoon came third in the national competition for his year and trained his palate to grasp nuances, deepening his knowledge and sharing it with the customers he assists with their tastings. He was driven by a desire to open his own restaurant and cook good food with good products. Sang Hoon Degeimbre opened his first restaurant in 1997 with his partner Carine. With no safety net, he went behind the stove, set out 25 places and completed his first service... as if he had done it all his life.
His is a kitchen in motion. The motion of life, of questioning, of nature and of the seasons. This bold, passionate chef is inspired by his Korean roots and his adopted Belgium to create a unique gastronomic world. The creativity and finesse of his dishes fascinate and charm.
He has been rewarded for his sheer perseverance, patience and attentiveness. The Michelin Guide awarded him a first star in 2000 and a second in 2008. The following year, Sang Hoon was contacted by the South Korean Embassy. Thanks to WBI, he went there as a chef for the Generation W collective, which promotes Walloon gastronomic heritage throughout the world.
In 2013, he was awarded the title of Officer of Walloon Merit. That same year, Sang Hoon rounded off his dream by opening L'Air du Temps in an impressive Hesbignon-style farmhouse in Liernu. Surrounded by five hectares of vegetable garden, this venue anchors the chef to Belgian soil while opening a window onto the world. They grow their own vegetables, plants and herbs with the help of his best friend and head gardener Benoît. "You have to listen to nature and adapt, that's sustainability. Our vegetable garden is a showcase for this. It provides 95% of our vegetables."
Sang Hoon explores cuisine that is respectful of humans and the earth. In 2015, he launched the SAN restaurant concept: two establishments in Brussels and one in Ghent came into being, offering creative, seasonal urban cuisine. It is thanks to Sang Hoon Degeimbre's vision and efforts that the village of Liernu is now on the world gastronomic map.
"I realise that the job I do, I do for others and I feed off that. While cooking is a passion, it cannot exist without sharing." Sang Hoon Degeimbre
Les Belges Histoires
WBI, in partnership with RTBF, invites you to discover the portraits of French-speaking Belgians who are promoting Wallonia-Brussels.