We have spoken to one of the most prominent restaurants in Norway about local commodities.
Most people face sustainability issues everyday when dealing with food; it is rare for one to realise the carbon footprint our meals involve, and what the waste of our left-overs actually does to the climate. For a Chef like Heidi Bjerkan, serving food at her restaurant Credo in Trondheim, Norway, without taking this information into consideration would be an intolerable act.
Bjerkan is one of the most respected chefs in the country; she has worked as the Head Chef at the Royal Palace, preparing food for royalties for over seven years in Oslo. Additionally, she has worked at other restaurants including Queen Elizabeth 2, Claridge’s in London, Grand Hotel and Bølgen & Moi in Oslo. Clearly a master is at work.
All food at Credo can be sourced back to local suppliers. Or to Bjerkan herself, like the green branch she picked in the woods this morning to garnish today’s dessert. She makes conversations weekly with her pigs, lambs, cows and a stubborn bull to nourish the meat that will eventually end up on locally made ceramic plates. Credo’s philosophy is simple: locally grown food comes first despite all costs. An ideology not all chefs are willing to strive for.
Credo’s menu is fully dependent on the raw materials available day to day; so you can forget about á la carte. Whether that be fresh lobster from the coast of Trøndelag or reindeer from the island Hitra. Since its opening in 1998, it has been one of Norway’s most important gems in fine dining and is ranked as the fifth best restaurant in White Guide Nordic. The bistro is on the second floor and offers a more informal and rustic food concept, neither with any fixed á la carte.
TL: What does fresh commodities mean for you?
HB: Everything. They are the only reason why I am a chef, I would never bother to work with materials that are expensively produced or grown poorly. No one knows what inorganic food does to us in the long run.
TL: What kind of challenges involve working with local food?
HB: I face challenges all the time, especially in logistics, we must think smart and not drive too much. I work all the time to coordinate with multiple manufacturers, trying to collect all the materials in one place.
TL: What kind of food do you reckon will be big in the future?
HB: We will continue to go properly back to ancient times and find sustainable substitutes for meat, like using more fresh milk, a great source of protein. Fresh milk is a struggle in Norway these days. I believe fresh milk straight from an eco cow has healthy bacterias, whilst the authorities fear anything that is not pasteurized. In general I think there will be a great focus on ethical food in the future. I try to only use wild fish for instance, and also I think there will be greater findings within sea food. In the long run, I hope we all will eat with the philosophy that everything we do influences the climate.