Brussels restaurant 65 Degrés is making waves with its delicious food and friendly wait staff – which is composed almost entirely of people with Down syndrome and autism.
Named for the perfect (Celsius) temperature to cook an egg, the restaurant is currently the top-rated in Brussels on TripAdvisor – out of over 3,000 restaurants. They serve French-style food, starting each three-course meal with an egg.
Waitress Marie-Sophie Lamarche remarks:
The customers are here to see us and to savor the restaurant’s atmosphere and gastronomy.
It is a lot of pressure. We are proud of ourselves.
Owner Valentin Cogel says:
You can go to any very nice gastronomic restaurant, you’ll have probably good service, you’ll have obviously very good food. What is not sure you’ll have is the welcome smile that you have here. So, we work with people who are so happy to be working, they have this pleasure of coming to work every day, and they are so honest and so transparent that when they ask somebody — “how was your day today?” — they really mean it when they ask.
According to 65 Degrés’ website, there are more than 10,000 people in Belgium with trisomy 21, but they often face discrimination and are unable to find work. 65 Degrés works to demonstrate that people with Down syndrome and other special needs can flourish working in a restaurant environment and make meaningful contributions to society.