When I thought through why I wanted to write a blog and what I would write about, I chose the title “The Nordic Chef,” for several reasons. One being that I am in fact Nordic having been born in Copenhagen and raised in both Norway and Denmark. All in all I have spent a total of 16 years living in Norway, and the remainder mainly in Denmark with the exception of a short stint in Serfaus, Austria and two-years in San Francisco.
I wanted to create a blog where I could write about my food-related experiences as a professional chef, and also write about my heritage as a Nordic chef. It was my grandmother after all that inspired me to take up cooking. I often stood by her side as she cooked up classic Danish dishes like Danish meatballs (frikadeller) with cream of cabbage and new Danish potatoes, roasted pork (flæskesteg) with red cabbage, caramelized potatoes and gravy (brun sauce), plaice, classic Easter and Christmas lunches, cakes and cookies, you name it! What captured me most was this feeling of creating something from scratch and seeing it through from start to finish. Now, 17 years after I started cooking professionally, my passion for cooking is still going strong.
During my time in Norway, I was also greatly inspired by Chef Arne Brimi, one of the “grand old men” in Scandinavian and Nordic cooking. He’s always been true to local sourcing and using traditional methods. He has been foraging since before it was cool — old Nordic-style. And was Nordic before the concept was created.
Another reason for choosing “The Nordic Chef,” is to be a voice in the Nordic food movement and be an advocate for sustainable cooking not only in the Nordics but in other parts of the world too. I believe the values behind “New Nordic” should go beyond the region and that the principles can be adopted locally anywhere. What I aim to do is to share my own food experiences and what I have learned as a Nordic chef to help shed light on how we can make things better — for the environment, mother earth and for the health of society. The little the things do matter.
I will write more about the topic of New Nordic and it’s principles in my blog in future posts, however for now, I will start with posting the New Nordic Manifesto published in 2004 by 12 Nordic chefs including Claus Meyer, co-owner of Noma, and some may say is the “father” of New Nordic. The Nordic Council of Ministers is also a strong player and is behind a number of initiatives to help spread New Nordic. A brochure about the movement can be downloaded here.
New Nordic Food Manifesto
1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics that we would like to associate with our region
2. To reflect the different seasons in the meals
3. To base cooking on raw materials which characteristics are especially excellent in our climate, landscape and waters
4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge about health and well-being
5. To promote the Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to disseminate the knowledge of the cultures behind them
6. To promote the welfare of the animals and a sound production in the sea and in the cultivated as well as wild landscapes
7. To develop new possible applications of traditional Nordic food products
8. To combine the best Nordic cooking procedures and culinary traditions with impulses from outside
9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional exchange of high-quality goods
10. To co-operate with representatives of consumers, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, fishing industry, food industry, retail and wholesale industry, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this joint project to the benefit and advantage of all in the Nordic countries