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New Nordic Cuisine and the US?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So, I'm guessing most people on here will have at least a passing familiarity with the New Nordic Cuisine that's been making serious waves over the last 5 years or so. 

 

For those not fully aware, the idea is very much influenced by French terroir. Only ingredients produced within the Nordic countries are used, while tastes tend towards the pure and fresh which is supposed to reflect the ambience of the region. This means a lot of the food is raw, cured or pickled and not so much of it is grilled or pan-fried. Also, many of the ingredients are foraged wild.

 

What I'm wondering is if there is any sign yet that influences from this style of cooking are spreading to the US, and whether it's something that people in the US would find appealing. As someone who spends a lot of time in the UK, the influence is just starting to become more visible there and I'm wondering where else this might be the case?

 

 

 

post #2 of 7

Marcus Samualson is the only big guy in the movement in the USA I can think of, but he's gotten some traction. He even cooked a White House state dinner (alas much of it was Indian themed).

 

I think the big issue for continued penetration into the US would be the pickled fish issue. I think Americans generally don't like oily fish to begin with. Probably a lot of my personal bias in this though. Seafood coctales and other mariscos have gotten pretty far in the US, so that would probably help pave the way for Scandinavian food.

 

Also, the movement as you describe is a bit contrary to the pseudo-localism that is the 800lb gorilla in the American food scene atm.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm intrigued to know what you mean by the 'pseudo-localism' you describe - I'm not really up on trends in North America so it would be quite illuminating.

 

Looking at the menu for Aquavit, there certainly seems to be a lot of ideas from both traditional and 'new' Nordic cooking that have been incorporated, but I was really thinking more about whether the ethos (food evoking a sense of place) has been carried over. Then again, the US is so large and varied it would probably need to be a bit more regional. I guess food fitting the surroundings of the north-east would be rather different to, say, the Pacific Northwest.

 

http://www.clausmeyer.dk/en/the_new_nordic_cuisine_/manifesto_.html

 

The manifesto behind the New Nordic cuisine might give you a better idea of what I mean. Replace the word 'Nordic' with 'regional' where necessary.

 

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownedoff View Post

For those not fully aware, the idea is very much influenced by French terroir. Only ingredients produced within the Nordic countries are used, while tastes tend towards the pure and fresh which is supposed to reflect the ambience of the region. This means a lot of the food is raw, cured or pickled and not so much of it is grilled or pan-fried. Also, many of the ingredients are foraged wild.

 

 

You're of course referring to Noma in Denmark. Local sourcing (terroir) and the use of seasonal products has spread in my country for quite a while now. One extreme example is the very young Michelin star owner Koen Desramaults, foraging herbs in the wild and cooking with the oddest techniques. The reintroduction of totally forgotten herbs and vegetables is also very high on his program. He's owner of restaurant "In de Wulf"; http://www.indewulf.be/en/kitchen/philosophy/

 

He's also part of some kind of a society of young chefs, many in their early thirties or younger and many already Michelin star owners. See for yourself how far they take their expression in the mindblowing images on their website; http://www.flemishfoodies.be/

post #5 of 7

Much the same in Scotland.

 

We have many chefs who have always used local produce (whether meat, fish or vegetables) - see people like Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin.  ALL of them insist on locally produced foods, and many of them choose organically grown foodstuffs too.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel View Post

Much the same in Scotland.

 

We have many chefs who have always used local produce (whether meat, fish or vegetables) - see people like Nick Nairn, Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin.  ALL of them insist on locally produced foods, and many of them choose organically grown foodstuffs too.



It's not really about local though, it's a sense of place more than anything.

 

The Nordic countries have a lot of differences and there is a lot of distance between some of them, but they also have a lot in common: clean air, pine forests, lakes, an attitude that tends towards purity and simplicity. The food is supposed to represent these - and the choice of produce is not about being the most local but about each item being the best one from the entire region at showing these qualities. This is where the idea of terroir comes in - Gotland lamb, for example, tastes of the sea air and the herbs that spring from the rich chalk soil that they eat, you really can tell it apart from lamb elsewhere in the region and it does show off the qualities that are being looked for.

 

Using Noma as an example, Iceland is not near to Denmark but they feel there are still products from there that can best contribute to the feeling they are trying to portray.

 

I'm really wondering how this sort of idea would be applied to the US, what people would see as the kind of regions that have an atmospheric or cultural identity, what that identity is, whether they have produce that could be made to fit this identity and whether the same kind of ethos would be achievable. Also I'm wondering whether the fairly broadminded attitude towards different/forgotten plants and herbs would be accepted.

 

I'm going to give an example from the UK: Paul Foster, the chef at Tuddenham Mill is using a lot of these ideas to represent the fields, waterways and hedgerows of the East Anglia countryside.

post #7 of 7

I can't help you re the USA.  I haven't visited there since 2009.

 

We have salt fed lamb in Scotland from both Orkney and the Shetlands.  Surely this is terroir-based (if you like to call it that).

What about local cheeses?  Are they not 'terroir-based'?  Our herbs, vegetables and what about Aberdeen Angus beef?  Those strains have been exported around the globe, making the amazing herds in Australia, in the USA and beyond?  What about things like samphire?  Something I gathered with my Mum from the seashore at Gullane?  Nowadays, it is used a LOT by London restrateurs like Ramsay, like Wareing and others.

 

Welsh marsh raised lamb?  Second to none.  Other things like Sussex Downs lamb, Hereford beef, Welsh Blacks etc/

 

(Is this where I state, categorically, that I HATE whale meat?  Or some of the Scandinavian fish dishes?!)

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