From the New York Times: North of Nordic: A Young Chef Invents ‘Neo-Fjordic’ Cuisine.
Instead of foraging in the past for inspiration, Mr. Haatuft asked himself a hypothetical question: “If western Norway were a region of France, what would the chefs here brag about?”
His theory is that the prestigious classic cuisine of France is “farm food that was beautified and refined” to suit the tastes and whims of rich people. In Norway, he said, there was never enough wealth to transform food into cuisine. (That changed after oil production began in the North Sea in the 1970s, making modern Norway one of the world’s wealthiest nations.)
Traditional Norwegian food is famously bland, with infinite recombinations of fish, potatoes, flour and milk. But those porridges and dumplings were often spiked with intense tastes like smoked lamb and reindeer, salt-fermented salmon, goat salami and pickled root vegetables. The country has top-quality dairy products, berries that grow sweet in the 18-hour days of summer and complex aged cheeses. Extraordinary fresh seafood is harvested from the cold waters of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, and preserved using time-honored traditions that are just as complex as French charcuterie.
“A French chef here would brag about the smoked mackerel,” he said. “He would clean out the dark parts to make it beautiful. He would add butter to make it rich and smooth, and make the flavor of the ingredient shine.”
That is precisely what Mr. Haatuft does at Lysverket. [continue]
This is the sort of thing that gives me hope. From the CBC: Montreal restaurant serves up free meals to the hungry.
It’s barely noticeable to passersby, but a piece of paper taped to the door of Marché Ferdous, a small Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Montreal, has caught the attention of some Montrealers.
The sign, written in both English and French, reads, “People with no money welcome to eat for free.”
That goodwill gesture has won the restaurant, located at the corner of Ste-Catherine Street West and Mackay Street, a lot of praise online.
The restaurant’s co-owner, Yahya Hashemi, said they’ve been giving free meals to the hungry for about five months now. He added that they consider it as a business expense. [continue]
Have you heard, over the last few years, of restaurants that have ended tipping altogether? I keep coming across articles about these, like this one in the New York Times:
Instead of expecting customers to tip the people who wait on them, tip-free restaurants pay all employees wages that reflect their skill and seniority. The customer pays a fixed amount, stated in writing (in menu prices), as in virtually every other kind of consumer business, from Nordstrom to Netflix to The New York Times. [continue]
Maybe one of these days a restaurant in my area will try this, but I’m not holding my breath.
From The Independent: ‘Robin Hood’ cafe in Madrid is charging rich customers to give to the poor.
A cafe in Spain is charging customers by day, and using the proceeds to serve meals to homeless people free of charge at night.
The Robin Hood restaurant opened on a side street in central Madrid on Tuesday, operating a simple but unique business model.
At breakfast and lunchtime the initiative runs as an ordinary Spanish bar, selling coffee, croquetas, and cigarettes, before reopening in the evening as a restaurant, serving a sophisticated sit-down supper to people who cannot afford to pay. [continue]
The Guardian has a story on this place, too: Charge the ‘rich’ to feed the poor: Madrid’s Robin Hood homeless cafe.
What a fantastic idea.
From Now Public: Insects on the menu for Vij’s restaurant.
The world is in a frenzy to help protect the environment and lead ‘green lifestyles’. Meeru Dhalwala, the chef and co-owner with husband Vikram Vij, is adopting this go-green attitude for their Vancouver based restaurant- in the form of BUGS.
That’s right! They have decided to introduce insects to their menu as green cuisine. Dhalwala has argued that insects are environmentally positive, and can provide a much healthier protein than that found in meat. The next step is seeing if consumers have the stomachs to tackle the yuck factor. [continue]
I’m not interested in eating insects, but I’m willing to try anything on the menu at Vij’s. The place is amazing, and we dined there regularly when we lived in Vancouver. Now we (well, my husband, really) cook from the Vij’s cookbook, which is also outstanding.