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Norway – the most awarded country in Bocuse d'Or

With Håvard Werkland taking home the bronze medal in Bocuse d'Or Europe in Trondheim in 2024, and Filip August Bendi securing the silver medal at the global Bocuse d'Or in 2023, Norway has strengthened its position as the country with the most medals in the competition's history.

Norway takes bronze in Trondheim

Norway's candidate, Håvard Werkland, won the bronze medal on home ground in Bocuse d'Or Europe 2024. The competition was held in the Norwegian city of Trondheim, in Trøndelag. The region was the European Region of Gastronomy 2022, and is considered Norway's premier food region.

Chefs from all over Europe were asked to use local ingredients that have played an important part in Norwegian history and heritage. For the first task, called "the barrel task", the competitors were required to use Skrei (Arctic cod), scallops, and stockfish, while the plate serving challenge featured reindeer meat and Lysholm LINIE Aquavit. 

Arne Sørvig, CEO of the Foundation of Norwegian Gastronomy, explains why Trondheim deserves a place on the culinary map:

"Trondheim has been an important meeting point ever since the Viking Age, but the region is also a popular food destination. A series of geological events millions of years ago gave the region of Trøndelag a special terroir, with fertile soil, fjords, a sea full of seafood, and mountains inhabited by wildlife."

The country with the most medals

Håvard Werkland and his team are Norway's next medal hope in Lyon in 2025. When not competing, Werkland is assistant head chef at the renowned Michelin-restaurant, Speilsalen, at Britannia Hotel in Trondheim.

When he was young, Werkland wasn't even sure that he wanted to become a chef and his main passion in his youth was gaming. However he decided to complete his apprenticeship and quickly discovered that he had made the right choice after all. 

Norway's Bocuse candidate in 2023, Filip August Bendi, and his team also reached their goal of a podium finish at the global Bocuse d'Or Grand Final in Lyon.

Every second year, 24 of the most promising chefs from around the globe gather in Lyon to participate in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition. Since it was first held in 1987, Norway has won five gold, four silver, and four bronze medals in the international competition. This means that Norway is the country with the most medals in the global competition’s history, even ahead of France.

All of this goes to show the elite level of Norwegian chefs and gastronomy. In addition to the silver medal win, Norway's Leon Haarberg Nilsen won the Best Commis Chef Prize.

In the European Bocuse d'Or competition, Norway has won four gold, two silver and three bronze medals (so far!). 

A chef with a 'killer instinct'

Filip August Bendi has been described as a highly creative chef with a killer instinct and is an unusually competitive person. When he was just 20 years old, Bendi travelled to Copenhagen and knocked on the door of the renowned restaurant Noma, looking for work, which he promptly secured.

Bendi later headed to Stockholm in Sweden to work for Mathias Dahlgren, known as a 'chef's chef', before a stint at Daniel, in New York, which has two stars in the Michelin Guide.

Since returning home to Norway, Bendi has, among other things, served as creative developer for the venerable Hotel Bristol in Oslo and worked at Thon Hotels, his current employer.

Fun facts about chef Bendi

● His favourite ingredients are potatoes and onions
● He has not had a kitchen in his own home for over half a year
● One of the signature dishes he makes for friends and family is omelette (!)
● Filip loves poetry and has been writing poems since the age of 12

More extraordinary Norwegian chefs

Bendi is not the only Norwegian chef to have brought home multiple medals from the competition. In 2021, two-time Bocuse d’Or Europe winner Christian André Pettersen secured his second global bronze medal, making him one of the most awarded chefs in the history of the competition.

This makes Pettersen, a talented Norwegian from the small northern city of Bodø, one of the most extraordinary chefs on the planet.

He currently has a catering and culinary consulting business in Stavanger with two of his good friends, Rasmus Johnsen Skoglund and Simon Normann Engen from Northern Norway, called Nord Matstudio. Pettersen is also the creative force behind a new restaurant with panoramic views of the sea at Wood Hotel, which is set to open in Bodø in 2024. 

A Nordic culinary wave

Werkland, Bendi and Pettersen are only three amongst a wave of innovative and creative Norwegian master chefs, leading the culinary revolution that has taken place in the Nordic countries in recent years.

Bent Stiansen was the first Norwegian to achieve the grand award in 1993. Since then, Norwegian chefs have been represented in the international final 16 out of 18 times.

There is something exciting cooking in the Nordics now, too – all three 2019 medallists and two of the 2021 and 2022 medallists are Scandinavian, making it a go-to region for food lovers. Two of the medallists in the 2023 world competition were from the Nordics. This means that the Nordic culinary wave is far from over. 

Are you ready to come and taste its delicious and innovative flavours? 

World-class cuisine

Many other Norwegian chefs have also gained an excellent international reputation. In addition, an increasing number of Norwegian restaurants have received stars in the Michelin guide in recent years. 

And there is more. Norwegian cheeses have been securing plenty of medals at the World Cheese Awards. Norwegian ciders are now also considered among the finest in the world.

"Frisky, witty and unpretentious"

Some of the world’s top food writers are now exploring the fresh Norwegian food scene. “Egalitarian and sincere, Norway’s version of New Nordic cooking is frisky, witty and unpretentious,” writes Alexander Lombrano in The New York Times, who even labels it “relatively affordable”.

He writes that the growing appeal of the Norwegian culinary scene “... isn’t best defined by Michelin – where the dominant DNA is Gallic gastronomic refinement – but rather a delectable local food culture that’s based on the country’s spectacular seafood and produce, amped up by the brevity of its growing season.” We heartily agree!

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