When you’re good at cooking, that’s already quite the achievement and you’ve probably earned compliments of friends and family over the years. When you manage to open your own restaurant and please the taste palettes of people from all over the city, that’s even cooler. But when you manage to work at Michelin starred restaurants and prepare meals for no one else than Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle, certainly, you know you’ve made it in the food industry. And that’s exactly what Karen Shu has done before opening her own restaurant in Antwerp.
Born in the Filippines and raised in New York, Karen Shu has had a profound bound with food from the beginning. Her mother used to prepare fresh meals at home and when studying, the best restaurants in town were of more interest to her than her books. At 19 she started to work her way up in French restaurants all over New York until becoming a chef at the Michelin starred restaurant of Jean-George Vongerichten in New York. Quite the resume and it doesn’t even end there, as over the years she became acquainted with celebrities from all over the world and rumour has it, she was the reason Beyoncé switched to a plant-based diet. Not a small achievement, if you ask us.
Ironically enough, Shu isn’t even vegan herself. She tends to eat as little meat as possible and when she does, she always wants to know where exactly it came from. No wonder she’s a fan of farmer’s markets, where she chooses everything, from the broccoli to the steak.
Fresh from the kitchen
If you’ve become obsessed by the celebrity chef by now, you could decide to try out her food at her brand new restaurant in Antwerp, and/or. There, you’ll find her in the open kitchen, where as a guest sat at the counter you’ll have a great view on how she works. She likes to steam things and, contrary to most chefs, she likes her servings to get smaller as the night progresses. She’d rather start with a big entrée and end with a small, very low-sugared dessert than the other way around. Guests should walk away with a light stomach instead of going home with the feeling they’ve over-ordered.
And the good news is: her restaurant isn’t even that pricey, compared to what you might expect from such a famous chef. Prices per serving start at about 10 euros and go all the way up to 30. Thanks to the monthly changing menu, in accordance with whatever’s in season at that point, you’ll never get bored of her food, even if you go more than once.