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Real cakes, real dreams

Real cakes, real dreams

Posted on 17. Feb, 2010 by gilly in TASTE

Last Thursday I tasted the best cheesecake of my life. Now I have pretty discriminating tastes and can honestly say I have done cheesecake (sampled, not made), and in several countries too. Except this one, baked by my friend Frederik, is an Olympic gold medalist.

At his on-the-button café, on the up-and-coming Rue Marché au Charbon, Frederik welcomes visitors not only with perfect cakes, creative bagel sandwiches and exotic, multi-textured, multicolored teas but also with the kind of easy, relaxed smile usually reserved for close friends in one’s kitchen. On Sunday mornings, in socks and pajamas.

Campy, cute, no-fuss Rachel is one month old and fast attracting Brussels’ media attention—from the free 1960’s jukebox to the jumbo leather kangaroo staring mischievously out the window (touting his own monogrammed ‘R’ pendant and lotsa lollypops in his pouch), to the clutch of neo-kitsch teapots, retro kiddy tea sets, to the vintage mugs filled with delightfully corny memorabilia spoons (you know, the touristy kind no one would ever dream of buying), I love it all.

But beyond that, I love the man behind this venture (whom I’ve known since he was 7), cauz’ it takes guts to open a café in a city already teeming with creative places. Frederik has spent the past 12 years groping around for what felt right and true. Economics studies in Louvain-la-Neuve? Nahh. Applied economics? Mmm ok, done. Management degree? Ok, tick. Psychology degree, interesting but not really. Comps and benefits management for a large pharma firm? No, didn’t think so. It took some heartache and much soul-searching to circle back to what he loves and, as he says, “I’ve never felt as good or as alive in any job as I feel this minute. Even though I’m still nervous about whether it will all work, I’m happier than I’ve been in years.”

Frederik oscillates between feeling overwhelmed and deeply at peace, and I, for one, can’t help but celebrate this bracing range of emotion and applaud his courage and authenticity.

If you’re in the mood for a deep chocolate muffin (with its sidecar of crème anglaise), a guacamole & turkey bagel (my favorite) or just a pot of amazing tea, Rachel is open from 11:30 to 19:30 Tuesday through Sunday. I’ll be there listening to Aretha Franklin or Nancy Sinatra, blissed out over cheesecake.

One Response to “Real cakes, real dreams”

  1. fred

    17. Feb, 2010

    well, overwhelmed this time, thanks gilly for your article. I must say I recognize myself in there. and THANKS! (your cheesecake is waiting for you:-)

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