Ambassador of GOESTING

Lien Vandeputte
Restaurant Réliva

Lien Vandeputte

When other chefs taste Lien Vandeputte’s creations, they praise her for her quirky cooking style. “You could call me self-taught. I’ve never had lessons with other chefs,” says the chef of Réliva restaurant in Bruges. After finishing her training, she started her own business immediately. Ten years later, she is known for her refined and elegant seasonal cooking. “I’m still evolving each day. I try to make every plate a little better than the last.”

Straight from the farm

“I gain my inspiration from the crops in the fields. I start with the vegetables and the rest follows from that.” The fact that her grandparents had a farm definitely plays a major role. “My fascination with everything that grows in the soil began on the farm.” Lien can still be found among the plants in the fields all the time. She likes to pick her own herbs at De Kruiderie in Beernem.

“Searching through the herbs and picking what I need is a time to come to myself, a peaceful moment away from the kitchen’s hectic chaos.” Her vegetables come from Boer Bas, a collective of organic farmers who aim to bring the best of their barns, fields and meadows to consumers. “That assures me of the freshest local fruits and vegetables. They are a pleasure to work with.”


Fresh flavours, but ultra-local

You’ll find plenty of fish on the menu at Réliva, as Bruges is not far from the North Sea. Salmon or cod don’t feature on this menu, however. Lien is proud to be a North Sea Chef and only serves by-catch. “In this way, I teach my customers to appreciate new flavours. An unfamiliar fish tastes just as good and is under less threat from overfishing. Mullet tartare is a worthy competitor for the traditional variant with tuna, for example.” Another signature dish is dogfish, an under-appreciated species, served with spelt, a beer sauce and freshly picked garden herbs.

“I’m particularly proud of our cheese platter,” says Lien. “These are all organic cheeses from local cheesemakers. Het Reigershof produces extraordinary goat cheese. They make a fantastically creamy goat brie and a two-year aged cheese that’s an equal to parmesan. Pas de Bleu, a tangy blue cheese made with raw milk from Ghent, is also phenomenal.”

"I gain my inspiration from the crops in the fields. I start with the vegetables and the rest follows from that."

Idiosyncratic wines

With Lien’s dishes, her partner Cedric serves carefully chosen glasses of wine. “My father is committed to finding exceptional natural, organic and biodynamic wines. He imports them himself, ensuring an idiosyncratic selection of wines you won’t drink anywhere else. The natural approach, without chemical intervention, is very close to my own cooking philosophy, which is why the elegant, slightly unusual flavours are such a good match for my cuisine.” Lien has visited all the vineyards along with her father. Customers are served stories of the winegrowers along with their glass of wine, relayed with great enthusiasm by Cedric. “The mood in the restaurant is always very convivial. Cedric is genuinely interested in people and generally knows everyone’s life story by the end of the night (laughing)”.

Réliva’s location in the lovely historic city of Bruges attracts many international guests. “I can understand that people want to visit Bruges. Every day as I walk around, I am impressed all over again. Bruges has it all. You can enjoy the greenery as you walk along the ramparts, shop in the shopping streets or sample culinary delights in the city’s many restaurants. What more could you want?”

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