THE NORDIC WAVES-SCANDINAVIAN CHEFS: CHRISTIAN PUGLISI
The Nordic Waves is the term I used to describe this group of chefs from all of Scandinavia, mainly from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. These chefs known for 3-4 years at international level have particularly been at the forefront over the past two years due to the recognition of New Nordic Cuisine and the emphasis on a cuisine close to nature and the local products. All this, without relying on the status attained by the restaurant Noma and Chef René Redzepi. But beyond fashions and trends of the moment, I discovered a high concentration of young chefs, innovative, creative, open to the world and all dedicated to their garden!
Christian Puglisi was born in Messina (Italy) in 1982 and he is arrived in Denmark in 1989. After the Cooking school, he had internships at several major restaurants: Taillevent, El Bulli and Noma. Soon this summer (2010), he is open his first restaurant (RELAE) with his colleague at Noma, Kim Rossen.
RELAE is a fine-dining brasserie, a new way of thinking a gastronomic restaurant. At RELAE, it is important to have great cuisine in a cool ambiance. All the dishes are composed of 3-4 components maximum and with a focus on the freshness and the best produces as possible.
Christian Puglisi is a very talented chef and a leader from a new generation of chefs who mix influences as well as Ferran Adria that René Redzepi; minimalist, pure and research for the authenticity of flavors.
Q+A WITH CHRISTIAN PUGLISI ( http://restaurant-relae.dk/):
1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?
CPuglisi- The kitchen of Relæ is a simple creative kitchen. It will give a no-nonsense fine dining experience with high quality but non-luxurious products. All the dishes will be composed of 3-4 components maximum and always be going towards being fresh, healthy and based on natural flavours. The kitchen will focus on vegetables and be very seasonal and will offer a 4-course set menu and a vegetarian 4-course menu.
2-(Scoffier) Relae Restaurant will be your first restaurant. Can you describe the concept behind Relae?
CPuglisi- Restaurant Relæ is a gourmet restaurant in a non luxurious setting. The idea is the bring the guest as close to the kitchen as possible, get rid of what we feel unnecessary for the modern gourmet experience and give a high value for money dinner. We want to offer a “low-priced” dinner to have a faster and more dynamic ambiance in the restaurant. We want people to have fun while they are enjoying a dinner with creative ambitions.
3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?
CPuglisi- Eggplant and tomatoes. The most defining raw produce of my childhood’s kitchen.
4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?
CPuglisi- I really love olive oil and after years in the Nordic kitchen where it is obviously not allowed I really feel I have re-discovered it!
5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?
CPuglisi- That must be definetely René Redzepi and Ferran Adria. Both are courageous and willing to go their own way but very different in their approach to cooking. René use his talent and instinct and Ferran use science and intelligence.
6-(Scoffier) I know that you and your colleague Kim Rossen have work with René Redzepi. Do you are part of the New Nordic Cuisine manifesto? If yes, are you as strict (just local products) that Rene Redzepi in your recipes?
CPuglisi- I love the Nordic kitchen but I am not dogmatic in the way I cook. I am an Italian immigrant and not using olive oil, lemons and tomatoes would be like turning my back to my cultural heritage. The success of the Nordic kitchen comes from setting up some restrictions and appreciating what you have in your own back yard. It has created something special and I am very inspired by the lightness, freshness and acidity that Noma has put into Scandinavian cooking. But that doesn’t mean that I will follow the same geographic limitations.
7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu for Relae?
CPuglisi- I very much try and cook what I would like to eat. There is always one main element on a dish and 2-3 others to accentuate it, on contrast it or whatever the idea of the dish is. I very much try to involve all my staff, kitchen and not, into the creative process. I believe we all have some resources and I really want to use them all to the maximum. That’s why everyone is tasted and asked for an honest opinion whenever we try something new. It’s very inspiring but also hardcore, it’s impossible to make everybody happy...
8-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces?
CPuglisi- I would love to be Pascal Barbot and having the same access to great products as they have in Paris. In Copenhagen is a bit more difficult, there is no market in the traditional sense of the word where you as a chef can go and pick out everything. To get what we want in this country we need to talk directly to the farmer and communicate our self to high standard products. And sometimes we can go visit some of the farms to get the inspiration to move on. I think I can speak for all Danish chefs when I say that we all dream of having La Boqueria or Rungis in Copenhagen.
9-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques?
CPuglisi- Yes I do. I learned a lot in my time at El Bulli and I am very happy to have some of the skills learned there as a part of my “toolbox”. I dont like to make dishes where everything is build around a technique that gives you some sort of gimmick. The techniques are helpful in improving texture and accentuate flavours but are never supposed to take over the kitchen. The quality of the produce is always more important.
10-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Christian Puglisi and the future Relae Restaurant?
CPuglisi- Recipe: Pickled Mackerel, cauliflower and lemon purée.
11-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Also, Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?
CPuglisi- I am filling out my ambitions and dreams as we speak. I have managed to open my restaurant and I am very happy so far. Now the ambitions are on the behalf of the restaurant. I want to see how much we can develop our kitchen and our guests dining experience. I would love to write a book, I don’t know about TV. I am very fond of liberty, I like doing things as I want to do them, but that might be a bit difficult with TV….
RECIPE: Pickled Mackerel, Cauliflower and Lemon Purée
INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
-2 small mackerels
-350 g water
-65 g Sherry vinegar
-50 g Red wine vinegar
1. Cut the mackerel of the bone and extract all the small bones from the fillet.
2. Sprinkle salt on the fillets and leave them to cure for half an hour.
3. Heat the vinegars and water to 40C and pour over the fillets.
4. Leave them to cool for one hour and pull them out of the brine.
-550 g water
-700 g sugar
1. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice.
2. Boil them for 5 minutes in plenty of water in a pressure cooker. Remove the insides.
3. Cool them down and boil them for 10 minutes with water and sugar.
4. Blend the lemons with 110 g of cooking liquid, 245 g water, 15 g sugar and 25 g of lemon juice.
5. Pass through a fine cloth and cool down.
-130 g cream
1. Cut the bouquet of the cauliflower and vacuum them. Boil the bag until the cauliflower is completely tender.
2. Blend the cauliflower with the liquid that is left in the bag, add the cream and season with salt.
3. Peel the fibrous parts of the remaining root and cut it in thin slices.
4. Marinate it with the lemon juice and olive oil just before serving.
1. Add a splash of the cold cauliflower purée onto the plate and add a few spoonfuls of the lemon purée.
2. Slice the mackerel and put it on top of the lemon purée.
3. Add the raw cauliflower and serve.
-Relae Restaurant/Chef Christian Puglisi (Partner Kim Rossen)
2200 Kbh N,
1. Mat & Vänner magazine #4, Portrait, 2010, http://issuu.com/matochvanner/docs/mv_4_10/89
2. Los Angeles Times, Nordic Cuisine, September 4, 2010, http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-copenhagen-20100905,0,6998376.story
3. Wall Street Journal, Top 10 Young Chefs in Europe, November 9, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514904575601792825186982.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
4. Omnivore Festival #6, 2010, Relae Film (video), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjpAhVN6Jr0
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