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Lara (27) and Thomas (25) complement each other perfectly: as a former event manager, Lara turns every evening into a mini event, while chef Thomas passionately devotes himself to preparing unusual taste explosions. Together, they are the power duo behind Commotie.
We meet them in their pop-up restaurant in Ghent. 'Enjoying pure, good ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere, a unique experience.' That's how they describe their perfect evening out, and that's also what this foodie couple offer to their customers.
‘If you visit Commotie, you actually enter a living room. We receive our guests as a couple without any additional staff. We perform the role of host and hostess throughout the evening. Thomas can often be found in the front of the house while I spend most of the time in the open kitchen to dress plates. This results in a relaxed atmosphere, which is greatly appreciated by our customers.’
A taste for vegetables: Temptation for diehard meat eaters...
Commotie is not about mousses or gels. Pure, recognisable ingredients take centre stage. The menu features creamy out-of-the-box dishes with lots of vegetables. Thomas is so innovative with vegetables that even diehard meat eaters are often the most enthusiastic about the vegetable dishes even though fish and meat are also on the menu. He is also renowned for his sauces.
'We opt for a food sharing concept because this increases social interaction. Too often you see people in a restaurant watching their mobile phones all the time. This is less the case over here. Commotie is the perfect restaurant to dine in a pleasant atmosphere and to share an experience 'together'.’
Natural wines selected by Lara
'We always offer a five-course menu and some appetizers to share. The wine menu features surprising natural wines. I deliberately opt for natural wines as they are healthier and less manipulated than organic wines: the grapes are not treated and no chemicals are used during the production process. Traditional wines contain a lot of stabilisers such as sulfites which are added during fermentation. Natural wines have a lower profitability, which means they are commercially less attractive. These wines originate from passionate wine growers who only offer a limited amount for sale. It is even possible that they do not offer any wine for sale in a particular year. Many restaurants in Scandinavian countries serve natural wines almost exclusively.’
'The services provided by Titeca Accountancy go beyond mere advice on accounting matters. They drew up our financial plan so as to assist us in purchasing the new building.'
A small-scale concept
It is clear that Lara and Thomas think about every detail. Don't be mistaken, they have a strong entrepreneurial vision. This is confirmed by their background. They are both 'positively obsessed', so to speak, with food and often ate out in the past as well. They are always analysing what works and what does not. When a friend of Thomas's father mentioned that he had a property in Kortrijk that had been vacant for over one year, they spontaneously decided to start a pop-up restaurant at this location.
The most difficult part was finding an appropriate name. 'We had been thinking about a name for weeks when a friend suddenly read something in the newspaper about the commotion surrounding the demolition of that property in Kortrijk. We felt that the word 'commotion' fit us perfectly. Commotion means a sensory sensation, setting something in motion, causing a stir.'
After spending one year in Kortrijk, Thomas and Lara opened a pop-up restaurant in their hometown of Ghent. In the meantime they have run this restaurant for 2.5 years. 'We deliberately opted again for a building scheduled for demolition. This enabled us to negotiate a better rental price. We have now bought a property near Gent-Dampoort. A significant investment, but we felt we were ready for this after 3.5 years. We will furthermore stick to our concept in our new restaurant as well: a small living room restaurant run by the both of us without any additional staff. The restaurant at the new location will only be open three or four evenings a week as we want to further increase our focus on catering for individuals and companies alike.’
from the very beginning…
Thomas and Lara came into contact with Titeca Accountancy via Emmanuel Titeca. ‘We didn't know much about accounting, but our accountant Bryan always explains everything well. Bryan has assisted us from the very beginning. In addition, he's a good customer; he is a regular at restaurant Commotie and he often attends our events as well. We attach great importance to such personal contact. We have built such a good relationship with our accountant that we prefer to stay a customer in Roeselare even though our new business is located in Ghent instead of Kortrijk. We use a paper accounting system; all relevant documents are automatically scanned by Titeca Accountancy.
The services provided by Titeca Accountancy go beyond mere advice on accounting matters. Titeca's specialists in fiscal, legal and financial advice have conducted an investment analysis together with Bryan and have drawn up our financial plan and credit file so as to assist us in purchasing the building and acquiring a favourable credit. Titeca provides a broader outlook and helps us think long term.'
'As a customer, we do not notice that Titeca Accountancy is growing; we continue to have close personal contacts with our accountant Bryan.'
Born for business
Running a business is in the couple's DNA. 'Running a business is incredibly challenging and incredibly fun. We sometimes wonder why we do this as an entrepreneur's work is never done. In addition, it's not easy to work together as a couple all the time. However, it's really a passion, an obsession according to some friends. Our sleeping pattern has also changed; we no longer sleep soundly because of all the adrenaline constantly screaming through our bodies. Even if we have a day off, we are occupied with our work. The fun thing is that you have everything under control as an entrepreneur.'