Siegfried Schön, owner of the culinary smokehouse Het Vishuis, recently acquired a prime piece of land at a new industrial area in his hometown Meer. Building his new factory will take a long time, because of Belgian regulations.
Het Vishuis, founded six years ago, is growing fast. The current location is getting too small for all the salmon that has to be prepared, smoked and packed. That’s why Siegfried Schön is moving to a new industrial area.
“We will build at our new location from the ground up, doubling our capacity and installing a second smoker. With the increase in space, we can also improve our logistics and streamline our working process.”
“At the new facility, our focus will be even more on our specials: salmon fillets with toppings.”
Schön, who is also a chef, and develops his own products, would like to add a shop to his business.
“I’ve been wanting to start a delicatessen featuring my own products for a long time, so hopefully now I’ll get the chance to do that. We specialize in Christmas and business gifts, doing over a thousand of those every year. At our new location we will be able to realize growth in that segment as well.”
Famous Belgian chefs
Het Vishuis has about thirty self-developed products, like salmon petit fours, salmon sausages and a large range of different marinated salmon filets.
This is where being a chef comes in, Siegfried Schön explains. “As a chef, you not only have to write menus if you want to distinguish yourself, you have to make interesting flavor combinations by developing your own taste. It’s a job with a lot of creativity, which I now use in my company.”
He has also worked with famous Belgian chefs like Roger van Damme, the owner of the only lunch restaurant in the world with a Michelin star. “I work a lot with chefs, and we develop products together for their private labels; from dry aged salmon to classic French salmon colberts. At Het Vishuis we can make everything, because we have the necessary expertise.”
However, the new location won’t be ready until the end of next year. “Everything takes a long time in Belgium,” Schön explains. “With all the procedures necessary, we expect it’ll take at least a year, maybe a year and a half. So we need a lot of patience.”