This past June I was invited to be a guest chef together with one of Greenland’s top chefs and head chef of the Hotel Arctic, Jeppe Ejvind Nielsen, to cater for the 25th Anniversary of Greenland Contractors, a company that services the U.S. Air Force base in Thule, Greenland.
I stayed for six days and worked alongside chef Jeppe and the never-setting sun. What I was most impressed with was Jeppe’s commitment to using local ingredients — even in a harsh and sometimes barren environment such as Greenland. In fact, one of his creations for his restaurant is a jelly made with water taken straight from the local Ilulissat Icefjord, one of Greenland’s’ most famous. When the jelly “melts,” the natural salt is added to the dish. He explained to me that since the glacier feeding this fjord is melting so quickly, the salt concentration becomes diluted making it more edible.
It has been a dream of mine to go to Greenland this time of year since Greenland is in fact a part of Denmark, and it was surreal to experience 24-hours of sunlight day in and out. It gave me chills down my spine every time I walked outside in the evening when it should have been dark out, and saw the bright sunlight. Fantastic.
I contributed to the event with an American-style buffet and prepared a number of specialities including North Dakota bison, Pacific mahi-mahi served with pineapple and papaya salsa, sweet poatoe salad, California-inspired ratatouille, my award-winning Texas-style spare ribs, and Alabama black-eyed pea salad. Luckily the U.S. Airforce base was able to import these products through Arctic Import, another company that also participated in the event.
Besides the event, I was privileged enough to attend a BBQ event under Mount Dundas and take part in a couple of tours around the ice cap and surrounding fjords and glaciers. It was incredible. We even had a picnic on one of the glaciers right on the ice, and were taken on two helicopter rides (see video below). All in all it was an experience of a lifetime.
Here below are some pictures from the trip.
Chef Jeppe preparing his red-beet poached salmon rolled in Greenlandic seaweed.
Me together with Thule Airbase Commandor Mark E. Allen
Chef student Emil & myself on the grounds of the base.
Artic rabbit in the wild
Greenlandic Muskox in the wild – a gourmet speciality that Nordic restaurants like Noma serve.