The perfect coffee, according to David Martin
David Martin certainly needs no introduction. The two Michelin stars chef from the Agen region is not only one of the most brilliant creators of his generation but also a leading figure in the incredible explosion of Belgium’s culinary scene. From his position at the helm of La Paix, a Brussels institution that celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, he has succeeded in remaining true to tradition while at the same time innovating every step along the way. His unremitting curiosity has meant that he has never rested on his laurels and has always stayed ahead of the game by creating his own identity with little regard for fashions and trends. Together with his wife Nathalie Obbiet, David has transformed the brasserie opposite the slaughterhouses in Anderlecht into a leading restaurant at which, having previously been the pioneer of cured meats, he serves a cuisine that explores the most advanced of techniques, capitalising on his profound knowledge of Japan and its produce to come up with entirely new dishes.
“We have one golden rule at La Paix: all customers are equal and must enjoy the same experience.
It starts with the welcome they receive and goes right through to the coffee at the end of the meal, of course. Quality and consistency are absolutely key here, which is why I switched to Nespresso over a decade ago. We were pioneers in the gourmet restaurant sector at the time and many of my colleagues have since made the same choice. Taste and quality are obviously key aspects - you have to have that beautiful crema in the cup, along with wonderful flavours - but ease of use is also a factor. Any staff member can serve the perfect espresso or cappuccino in seconds, without any special training, and the customer gets their cup immediately, at just the right temperature and with consistent results, not to mention the fact that the capsules mean that we avoid any loss of aroma, which happens fairly quickly with coffee beans.”
The kitchen at La Paix is home to a superb Aguila 420 that can prepare four coffees simultaneously - including milk-based recipes - and produce 400 coffees per hour.
“Again, its ergonomics and ease of use mean that any member of the team can serve coffee efficiently and consistently. We even saw a significant increase of nearly 45% in the number of coffees ordered after we bought it.”
The Brussels-based chef also has a second Nespresso machine for his private dining room, a somewhat secret location in which he films episodes of his TV show Martin Bonheur, eight seasons of which have already been broadcast on RTL TVI. This one is a brand-new Momento Coffee & Coffee.
“This is a more affordable model because we don't have the same requirements here in terms of volume, but it does provide the same level of quality.”
Putting his money where his mouth is, the chef brings the cup to his lips with a satisfied smile that says more about the true pleasure of enjoying a perfect coffee than any amount of words ever could.