THE NORDIC WAVES-SCANDINAVIAN CHEFS: ESBEN HOLMBOE BANG
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 and immediate environment.
I travel in the world with this Serie, but as you see I often return to Scandinavia! Esben Holmboe Bang is 28 years old, he is certainly one of the youngest chef of the Serie, in a country where local cuisine (terroir) is beginning to emerge, Norway!
Esben Holmboe Bang has worked with the excellent chef Jakob Mielcke (Mielcke & Hurtugkarl) and did internships in Oslo to Le Canard and Feinscmecker before opening Maaemo (Mother Earth in English) in December 2010. The restaurant is brand new but already he has received many accolades from his peers and gourmets.
The challenge of the young chef is bold! Indeed, he chose to use 100% organic products and have only a tasting menu of nine services. Knowing that Norway consumes only 1.2% of organic products and is not focused on its cuisine (terroir products), there is a pioneering work to do.
In the footsteps of the New Nordic cuisine of René Redzepi, Holmboe Bang already seems to have a unique signature, much like Magnus Nilsson (Faviken). His cuisine has an aesthetic close to nature, a great respect for the product, a menu in crescendo and creations harmonic.
This is one reason for which I write and I realize this series: to find chefs like Esben Holmboe Bang!
Q+A WITH ESBEN HOLMBOE BANG (www.maaemo.no ):
1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics? And why only have a Tasting menu?
EBang- We want the food and setting of the restaurant to reflect the Norwegian nature and climate. The cuisine is very honest and transparent. We use only wild, organic or biodynamic produce. The goal of the tasting menu is to represent the Norwegian season at that given time.
2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?
EBang- I have several. But the childhood taste I work with the most at the moment is the taste of clean produce. Like when you pick fresh wild berries in the wild. We don’t want to dilute the crisp flavor of Nordic produces.
3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?
EBang- We use a lot of different type of vinegars and smoked and pickled products in the winter. In the summer, we use a variety of wild growing produces. We cook onlyby the seasons and nature.
4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?
Everybody I have ever cooked and worked with has formed the way I cook today. But at MAAEMO the cuisine is very much inspired by the Norwegian nature.
5-(Scoffier) I have read that the Norwegians have discover recently the local products (terroir), their diet was mostly international! That’s curious with the buzz of Noma and the Scandinavians trend in the world of gastronomy? Can you describe the progression of the gastronomy in the country (or at Oslo)?
EBang- A couple of years ago, the restaurant scene in Oslo was mostly Norwegian and French produce cooked with a strong French influence. The reason we started the MAAEMO project, was that we wanted to display a more personal kitchen. We wanted to create a restaurant that reflected the Norwegian country, people and nature…
6-(Scoffier) I seen the nine parts of your Summer menu, the title described solely the principal product?
EBang- We want to communicate the clean flavor of the produce. And of course we want to add an element of surprise as the meal progress.
7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu at Maaemo?
EBang- It always starts with an idea. From there, it really varies from time to time. Sometimes it can go really quick, and the idea works the first time we try it and sometimes it takes a long time. We discuss with everybody on the team. Everybody taste and everybody say what they think.
8-(Scoffier) What is the importance of wine pairings in your menu (9 dishes vs 9 wines)? How do you work with your sommelier Pontus Dahlström?
EBang- With the beverage pairings we always strive to add another dimension to the flavors palette of the dish. We try to lift the more subtle flavors and underline the crescendo in the menu. Pontus is with me every step of the way when we create a new dish. So often, when we select the pairing this as gone through the same evolution process as the dish.
9-(Scoffier) Now, Is it easy for you to find the good products locally and regularly?
EBang- I am fortunate to live in a country with amazing nature and fantastic produces. As we work solely with organic, biodynamic or wild produces, and Norway is a big country, we have sometimes a challenge with the logistic. But we put a lot of effort in finding the best possible produce. It is not hard, but of course it takes up a lot of time.
10-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Esben Holmboe Bang & Maaemo?
EBang- Recipe: «Ost fra Eggen & Havtorn»
11-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?
EBang- Our goal is to refine everything we do in the restaurant. The progress of MAAEMO can never come to a stand still. This means we have to push ourselves to make everything more profound every day. We have a possible book project coming up but I don’t think we will do a cooking television show.
RECIPE: Ost Fra Eggen & Havtorn
INGREDIENTS & PROGRESSION RECIPE
-200 g Fjellost from Eggen farm in Røros. Alternative mild blue cheese.
-10 g flour
-20 g saltet butter
-225 g milk
-210 g of birch wine
1. Melt the butter and add the flour. Add the milk and bring to a boil. And the cheese and birch wine while stirring.
-125 g water
-8 g balsamic apple vinegar
-110 g sugar
-130 g fresh seabuckthorn
1. Bring water and sugar to a boil and cool down. Add the the vinegar and the berries. Leave cold for 3 hours.
Serve with dried birch leaves. Enjoy.
Maaemo/Executive Chef Esben Holmboe Bang
0191, Oslo (Norway)
1. Nordic Nibbler blog, June 2011
2. Maaemo Identity & Paper, Trendsnow magazine, March 2011
3. SippitySup Blog (video), Recipe of Pickled Mackerel & Ramsom, July 2011
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