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Norwegian chef Christian André Pettersen arranging a food tray in Bocuse d’Or 2019
Norwegian chef Christian André Pettersen arranging food on a plate in Bocuse d’Or 2019
Bocuse d’Or 2019.
Photo: Tom Haga
Bocuse d’Or 2019.
Photo: Tom Haga

The Bocuse d'Or bronze medal 2021 goes to.... Norway!

Two-time Bocuse d’Or Europe winner Christian André Pettersen received his second international bronze medal in the 2021 world final in this gastronomic competition. And Norway maintains its position as the country with the most Bocuse d’Or awards. 

Updated: 27 September

So much hard work. So many long nights. Six years of constantly seeking perfection. In every detail. 

Pettersen and his Norwegian team had already won medals in this extremely demanding competition no less than three times in three years. After being awarded the title "Chef of the year" in Norway in 2015, he won the European Bocuse d'Or in 2018. Afterwards, Pettersen came in third in the international Bocuse d'Or competition in 2019 (the last time it was held).

But one bronze medal was not enough for the talented chef. He wanted to be THE best. He made a promise to his dad, who was also a chef, shortly before he passed away from a heart attack in 2013:

"I was 23 years old when he died. The last thing I promised him was that one day, I will win the Bocuse d'Or," Pettersen told Norwegian Broadcaster NRK.

Take-away tomato perfection

So he kept refining his culinary art. When he won the Bocuse d'Or Europe for a second time in 2020, he once again demonstrated that he is one of the most extraordinary chefs on the planet. But that was not enough, either.

During this year's international competition, the 22 participating chefs were tasked with preparing a three course takeaway meal, where all three courses had to contain tomato... including the dessert!

"It was hell," Pettersen tells NRK with laugh. 

"But we did it and it worked. We were actually very pleased with that dessert," he says. 

The 2021 jury rewarded Pettersen for the effort, although he didn't make it all the way to the top, as he had hoped... But Christian André Pettersen from Bodø, Norway, is still one of the three best chefs in the world!  

Three course takeaway meal with tomato at the Bocuse d'Or
Three course takeaway meal with tomato.
Photo: Tom Haga

Most awarded country

Pettersen is only one among a wave of innovative and creative Norwegian master chefs leading the culinary revolution that has taken place in Norway in recent years.

Every second year, 24 of the most promising chefs in the world meet in Lyon in France to participate in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition. Since the competition was first held in 1987, Norway has won five gold, three silver, and four bronze medals, making Norway, together with France, the country with the most Bocuse d’Or awards

There is something exciting cooking in the Nordics now, too – all three 2019 medalists and two 2021 medalists are Scandinavian, making it a go-to region for food lovers. This means that the Nordic culinary wave is far from over... Are you ready to come and taste it? 

Bent Stiansen was the first Norwegian to achieve the grand award in 1993. Since then, Norwegian chefs have been represented in the international final 15 out of 17 times. 

Arctic-Asian flavours

For the 2019 Bocuse d’Or, Pettersen was awarded the bronze medal for his delicate and surprising flavours from of the Arctic – inspired by a childhood with a Filipino chef mother and a Norwegian chef father in the rugged hinterland of Bodø, just north of the Arctic circle. This has strongly influenced his culinary vision and techniques. “My identity, my person, and my food all share the same origins: a perfect blend of east and west, Norway and Asia, the natural and the technical, explains Pettersen, before adding that “the competition highlights the profession in an important way, while also promoting interest in Norway as a travel destination for foodies.”

World-class cuisine

Many other Norwegian chefs have also obtained a worldwide reputation. In addition, an increasing number of Norwegian restaurants have received stars in the Michelin guide in recent years. In 2016, Maaemo became the first restaurant in Norway to be awarded three Michelin stars. The opening of the world’s largest underwater restaurant Under in 2019, and the Michelin star it received in 2020, brought Norway even higher up on the bucket list for serious gourmets.

The 2019 edition of Bocuse d’Or wasn’t the only international competition in which Norway performed well. The local cheese Fanaost from Ostegården won the gold medal during the World Cheese Awards in Bergen in 2018, and a goat cheese from Telemark came in second. This was the second time a Norwegian cheese won the world’s biggest cheese competition. In 2016, the blue cheese Kraftkar from small local producer Tingvollost in Fjord Norway was chosen as the Champion of Champions – simply the best cheese of all time.

The Norwegian ciders are now also considered among the finest in the world. 

Norwegian chef Christian André Pettersen arranging food on a plate in Bocuse d’Or 2019
Bocuse d’Or 2019.
Photo: Tom Haga

Frisky, witty and unpretentious

Some of the world’s most important 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 has a good point when he writes that the growing culinary appeal of the Norwegian food 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.”

About Bocuse d’Or

Bocuse d’Or is a biennial world chef championship that takes place in Lyon, France. Candidates representing 24 countries give their best in hope of winning the greatest contest in modern cuisine.

Since the competition was first held in 1987, Norway has achieved five gold medals, three silver, and four bronze medals.

Former Bocuse d’Or winners and their restaurants

Bent Stiansen
Restaurant: Statholdergaarden in Oslo

Charles Tjessem
Restaurant: Villa Skeiene (in Norwegian only) in Sandnes in the Stavanger region

Geir Skeie
Restaurant: Brygga 11 in Sandefjord

Ørjan Johannessen
Restaurant: Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri, in Austevoll municipality south of Bergen.

Great Norwegian food gifts

Make your holiday last longer by bringing home some uniquely Norwegian culinary treats. 

“Røkelaks” (smoked salmon)
Available as a whole fish or in carefully packed thin and delicate slices. Complete your purchase with an accompanying mustard sauce.

“Tørrfisk” (dried cod) Small slices of brittle stockfish make the perfect (and healthy!) snack. Dried cod is available in small portion bags.

“Brunost” (brown cheese)
Take home a bit of our national soul with this sweet, brown cheese. Although most brown cheeses are made of cow’s milk, there is also a variety made from goat’s milk that has a sharper flavour. Don't forget to pick up a cheese slicer, called ostehøvel in Norwegian, a beautiful tool that's typically found in every Norwegian kitchen.

“Sild” (herring)
Herring is used in a wide variety of dishes and comes in a myriad of marinades and flavours.

“Flatbrød” (crispbread)
Flatbrød is a dried and crisp type of bread, far thinner than even the fanciest laptop, and most often sold in a small protective cardboard box. Perfect with soups and stews, or topped with cured meats and sour cream.

“Lefse”
A traditional thin pastry consisting of flour, potatoes, milk and butter, made with traditional techniques. Usually served folded with a thin layer of butter, sugar and cinnamon inside.

Waffle mix and waffle iron
If you want to experience real Norwegian kos, try a Norwegian-style waffle.

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