Duncan Roberts: Was there any dominant trend in the Luxembourg restaurant scene in 2018?
France Clarinval: There were lots of new openings, renovations and changes of chefs this year. The sector is very dynamic. But there is also a sense of caution. Very few types if cuisine manage to come from outside the country and establish themselves: there is not really any Korean restaurant [here], neither Peruvian or Ethiopian… I have also noticed that restaurants are taking more care to offer diners a choice of quality vegetarian or vegan dishes.
DR: What was your personal highlight of the year?
FC: On a personal note, my life changed when my daughter went off to study in Brussels. A watershed for her as well as for me.
DR: Did any cultural event in Luxembourg stand out for you?
FC: I am always impressed by the programme put on by the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. I was amazed by the Käfig Company, and overwhelmed by The Traviata directed by Bob Wilson.
DR: Where did you enjoy your best meal of 2018?
FC: The best meal of the year was at Fani in Roeser for a presentation of wines by Salvatore Ferragamo. The poached egg with parmesan foam and truffles had me in tears of joy.
DR: Are there any challenges that the restaurant scene in Luxembourg just keeps getting wrong or any lessons that they should learn?
FC: There are good and even some very good chefs in Luxembourg, but many lack what I would call audacity. Since the costs they face in rent and wages are significant, many restaurants prefer to stay safe with traditional dishes than to take that extra step and go for inventiveness. It is also unfortunate that Luxembourg producers are not better known, and their produce is not more widely distributed
DR: Luxembourg gained two Michelin stars in November. Are there any restaurants in the grand duchy we should keep an eye on that might win a star in 2019, or any new gastronomy ventures worth investigating?
FC: I would pick two chefs worth keeping an eye on. Both might catch the attention of the red guide: Mathieu Van Wetteren at l’Apdikt in Steinfort and Hannes Graurock at the Luxembourg Wemperhardt. Two very different styles, but both have this awareness and ambition to push their limits.