With Christian André Pettersen’s gold medal from Bocuse d’Or Europe 2020, Norway is once again ready for the world final in the renowned gastronomic competition. While we await the prestigious Bocuse d’Or 2021, we’ll look back at the award-winning flavours of Norway.
Updated: 19 October 2020
A culinary revolution has taken place in Norway during the last few years, led by a wave of innovative Norwegian master chefs like Pettersen. Every other 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 three bronze medals, making us the country with the most Bocuse d’Or awards. There is definitely something cooking in the Nordics now – all three medallists in 2019 came from Scandinavia, making it a go-to region for food lovers.
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. He states that “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.” He also says that “the competition highlights the profession in an important way, while also promoting interest in Norway as a travel destination for foodies.”
Many other Norwegian chefs have also obtained a worldwide reputation and, over the last few years, an increasing number of Norwegian restaurants have received stars in the Michelin guide. In 2016, Maaemo became the first restaurant in Norway to get 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 the tiny producer Tingvollost in Fjord Norway was chosen as the Champion of Champions – simply the best cheese of all time.
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”, according to Alexander Lombrano in New York Times, who even labels it “relatively affordable”. He also has a good point when he states 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.”
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 now three bronze medals.
Take home some typical tastes that will make the holiday feeling last longer.
“Røkelaks” (smoked salmon)
Invest in a whole fish or simply go for delicately packed and convenient slices. Top off your purchase with some specially made mustard sauce.
“Tørrfisk” (dried cod) Small slices of crunchy stockfish is the perfect (and healthy!) snack. You can get it in small bags.
“Brunost” (brown cheese)
With this sweet, brown cheese, you’re taking home a bit of our national soul. Most of the brown cheeses are made of cow’s milk, but you can also get a stronger tasting variety made of goat’s milk. Obligatory gear is the cheese slicer called “ostehøvel”, a beautiful tool found in most Norwegian kitchens.
Herring comes in increasingly many variations with a myriad of marinades and flavours.
A dried and crispy form of bread, far thinner than even the fanciest laptop, and most often sold in a protective carton. Delicious with soups, stews, or topped with cured meats and sour cream.
A traditional thin pastry of flour, potatoes, milk and butter, made with traditional tools. Usually served folded and spread with butter and other foods.
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