Vanessa Plancke

Vanessa Plancke is Executive Assistant of the Hertog Jan Restaurant Group at Zedelgem

What does an Executive Assistant in the hospitality industry do exactly?

Almost the same as in any other industry. My job description doesn’t really depent on the industry. It is a very broad, overarching role that includes virtually everything that doesn’t include the kitchen or the service, which is why I often get asked ‘what do you do then?’. Well, quite a lot. From administration and accounting to HR and IT, it’s all part of my responsibilities. I actually truly enjoy this kind of variety. And no, I’m not responsible for reservations either. (laughs)

What brought you to the Hertog Jan Restaurant Group?

The one common thread throughout my career is that my employer must always be part of the very top. No matter what my engagement is, I always want to compete at the highest level, which is undoubtedly the case in my current role. Other than that, it was rather a twist of fate. It’s not like I had a deep connection with hospitality before, unless you think the student bar in Torhout that I ran independently for four years counts as one (laughs). I really enjoy working here, though. There’s a very pleasant atmosphere among the staff and we are always there for each other. Gert and Joachim also know all fifty or so employees personally, which is something you don’t see everywhere.

Your job brings you into contact with just about every restaurant that belongs to the group. Do you have a personal favorite?

This will always remain a tough choice because every restaurant has its own, unique approach. If I really were to choose, my preference goes out to L.E.S.S. Eatery because of its playful and creative nature. Moreover, the sharing concept there always puts in a vacation mood. But to be fair, I probably love Bar Bulot and BABU equally as much.

You yourself spend most of your time in the historic farmhouse in Zedelgem. What makes this place so special?

That magical feeling you get when you first enter the driveway here, it never really goes away. The farmhouse brings together a unique mix of modern elements and authenticity, with a beautiful garden as well. This gives each event a completely different atmosphere, depending on the chosen decor. No two parties are the same here. What is a fixed value is the excellent catering by Atelier Niek Ducheyne, tested and more than approved by Gert and Joachim themselves.