A walk in the park with Ron Blaauw, Edwin Flores and René Redzepi

A walk in the park with Ron Blaauw, Edwin Flores and René Redzepi
12 November 2013

"Our movement refers to the development of a new Nordic gastronomy, a change in a food culture that can happen anywhere on the planet. It is simply about redefining luxury, emphasise seasonality and restore the link between cooking and nature."
Claus Meyer co-founder of Noma in Kopenhagen.

Claus Meyer and René Redzepi started Noma in 2003, having the ambition to start a restaurant dogmatically based on Nordic ingredients. In the beginning people from the industry were really skeptical in the feasibility of this endeavor. Yet already in 2004 Meyer and Redzepi were the founding fathers of the New Nordic Manifesto. A group of regional chefs formulated a set of commandments during an 18–hour workshop. In 2005 Council of Ministers adopted the manifesto as the ideology of the New Nordic Food. Today the manifesto is a guiding light, not just for visionary chefs, but also for small and large food companies, which have found a new way of communicating with ambitious consumers.

Now in 2013, the commandments made in the NND (New Nordic Diet) are the connecting thread in gastronomy; know your suppliers, eating nose to tail, locally grown, sustainable agriculture, more healthy, less protein from meat more from plants, and more food from lakes and seas are the guidelines in this diet. Another guideline is: more food from the wild countryside, so let’s go out foraging. Today you will find almost every chef using foraged ingredients varying from mushrooms to ransom and lots of what used to be considered ‘weeds’.

Ron Blaauw also redefined luxury last year. He turned his two Michelin star restaurant Sofia into Ron Gastrobar. He wanted to go off the beaten track of two Michelin star defined luxury having a lot of amuses, courses, wines etc. Now he offers good quality dishes with only four or five steps per dish in a really informal style.

René Redzepi was coming to Ron Gastrobar for the launch and signing of his new book; A work in progress. The programme would start with a foraging tour guided by the most well known forager in The Netherlands, Edwin Flores and continued by a lunch in the Gastrobar. Instructors Jan van de Kreeke and Joost de Vos were lucky to be there as representatives of Hotelschool The Hague.  

When arriving at Ron Gastrobar they were welcomed on the terrace with a soup of ‘Hen of the woods’, a type of mushroom growing under oak trees (and the favorite ingredient of René they discovered later). Edwin Flores took the group of 100 foodies for a walk in the Vondelpark and talked  about the edible nature around us. Halfway through the tour René Redzepi joined the group and he was welcomed with a big applause. During the rest of the foraging tour René told about the use of foraged ingredients at Noma.

 

The birch tree is a very important one for example. In the beginning of March when the first leaves are showing, they are picked for the use in salads as they have a tangy taste.  In March when the sap flow begins they drill a hole in the bark of the birch tree, so they can collect up to 15 liters of birch sap from a single tree. At Noma they serve it pure as a good replacement of still water or reduce the sap to a ‘lovely, delightful and subtle syrup’, far nicer than the heavy maple syrup, according to Redzepi.

The inspiring walk was followed with a fantastic lunch.