It’s taken just twelve years since that iconic meeting at Noma for new Nordic to become an established and highly respected cuisine. It’s not only changed Denmark’s attitude to food; the ripples can be felt across the international culinary landscape, with a smattering of talented young chefs crediting Claus and René as inspiration. But with a manifesto dedicated to exploring the native ingredients of Denmark, how are international chefs interpreting it on their own turf?
‘Anyone living in the northern hemisphere can cook Nordic food and follow the seasons,’ says Claus. ‘‘Wild’ ingredients are not the most important thing – what’s more important are the techniques you use to prepare them. By focusing on limiting the amount of fats, using an abundance of vegetables and implementing innovative approaches, bright flavours and great textures to a dish, the cuisine translates very well.
‘We have four distinct seasons and a large number of wild and cultivated foods that are unique to each,’ he continues. ‘I believe we should all eat fresh, local produce, more whole grains, food from the wild and a variety of fruits and vegetables, avoiding things like endangered fish species.’
Claus has just released his latest cookbook – The Nordic Kitchen: One Year of Family Cooking – which he hopes will help get new Nordic into more homes instead of just professional kitchens. ‘It’s based on my book called ALMANAK, a bestseller in Denmark filled with unique, simple, seasonal dishes for every single day of the year,’ he tells us. ‘It’s the book I hope my kids will cook from, and is a sort of testimony of the new Nordic cuisine – the democratic, simplified version that looks at the core of the whole thing.
‘I hope that, if it’s not already there, new Nordic will slowly grow to become one of the great cuisines of the world,’ adds Claus. ‘But I also hope that it will end up becoming larger than the idea of promoting progress in our own region.’ With chefs like Robin Gill and Agnar Sverrisson turning out incredible plates of Nordic-inspired food using local ingredients all the way over in London, it seems like the evolution of Claus’ philosophy has already begun.