Founder and CEO
Emmanuel Verstraeten is a “serial entrepreneur” who to date has launched 11 companies. He is currently Founder & CEO of SPE Certified.
Born in Brussels, he was raised by a mother who prepared fresh, seasonal and local-sourced meals for the family each day, undoubtedly influencing his life-long passion for great tasting food and sustainability.
After fast-tracking himself at the European Commission in his early 20s, Emmanuel then launched and operated several foodservice companies. In 2001, he opened his first restaurant in Brussels, Rouge Tomate, bringing together under one roof the divergent worlds of nutrition and fine dining. An immediate hit, Rouge Tomate has since become one of the city’s “go to” fine dining eateries. In 2004, Emmanuel co-founded Natural Caffè, a Brussels-based “quality fast food” chain with an emphasis on organic, fresh, homemade fare. In 2008, he opened Rouge Tomate in New York, the Bentel & Bentel-designed restaurant on 60th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, which was awarded many accolades, notably one Michelin star within months of opening. And in 2011 he created SPE Certified, the certification and consulting arm of the unique culinary philosophy underlying both Rouge Tomate restaurants, with the mission to effect positive change in the foodservice industry.
Emmanuel is known for his inclusive management style and for repeatedly crafting cohesive, horizontally-structured teams made up of the most talented professionals in their respective fields -- who also share his passion for great food, health and sustainability.
In his personal time, Emmanuel enjoys spending time with his wife and toddler daughter. He is an avid world traveler and has a particular interest in contemporary architecture and design.
Emmanuel holds a Master in Business and Management (ICHEC, Brussels), and serves as a member on several boards in both Belgium and the United States.