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A NEW COPENHAGEN THE
A NEW COPENHAGEN THE STAR CHEF RASMUS KOFOED Rasmus Kofoed (42) is one of the world’s finest chefs and the winner of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or gold medal. He is the only person to have won gold, silver and bronze in the competition. Kofoed received his training at Hotel d’Angleterre in Copenhagen and worked at two-Michelin-star Scholteshof in Belgium before opening his first restaurant Geranium. As of today, Geranium is the only Danish restaurant awarded with three Michelin stars. Kofoed lives in central Copenhagen with his wife and two children, with a third on the way. FAVOURITE PLACE “I really enjoy going to the Deer Park, which is a forest park north of the city. You can wander around and watch deer grazing. I think there is something beautiful about exploring your surroundings and the relationship between nature and the city. The Deer Park is a great example of how you can find a piece of real nature not too far from the city centre.” BEST TIP “I’d recommend a visit to restaurant Den Gule Cottage and have lunch. That place is an undiscovered treasure. You’ll get really good value for your money and the surroundings are absolutely stunning.” geranium.dk PHILOSOPHY ON A PLATE For a real revolution to take place, someone will have to fight its first battles. And nowhere is this truer than in the Copenhagen culinary scene, today heralded as one of the finest in the world. However, it wasn’t always like that. Just three years ago, Denmark boasted of 13 Michelin-star restaurants, none of which had been rewarded with the coveted three-star insignia. Today, that number has risen to 22, with one, Geranium, taking pole position as the country’s only three-star pick. The mastermind behind Geranium is Rasmus Kofoed, a Bocuse d’Or gold medalist who says he finds his inspiration in both the city he works in and the nature that surrounds it. “I find that the contrast between the hectic city life and the nature helps me develop as a person and as a chef,” he says. “I have a deep connection to Danish nature and that has helped me find an expression or a voice as a chef."
A NEW COPENHAGEN Kofoed, who grew up in the countryside himself, in this way channels his own love for nature into his cooking, with his creations often offering a modern twist to traditional Danish dishes and produce. "At Geranium, we offer an experience that is fuelled by clarity and diversity. I find that balance very important. One of my favourite pastimes is to go for walks in the King’s Garden, where you’ll find a piece of calm nature right in the middle of the city. I love that you can have both in the city, and much of what we do at Geranium is informed by this relationship between the urban and the natural. We have a rather philosophical approach that emphasises not just a culinary experience, but also what can be learned through observing the elements and the organisms around us. And Copenhagen is just perfect for that.” SOMETHING BREWING Not far from Geranium, another, grittier revolution is underway, driven almost singlehandedly by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. Bjergsø is the founder of craft beer concept Mikkeller – and probably the best micro brewer in the world. Starting his business in his kitchen less than 10 years ago, he is today a cult figure in microbrewing circles and runs a number of restaurants, pop-up bars and larger collaborations with restaurateurs and distributors across the globe. Mikkeller doesn’t operate from its own brewery, but has built its following through limited-edition brews and in-house deals with some of the hippest microbreweries and beer bars in Denmark and abroad. This has earned him the nickname, “The Gypsy Brewer”, as he seems to be always on the move. Bjergsø says he has noted how the culinary scene has undergone tremendous change within the past decade but sees a shift in consumer attitude as equally important. “People are without any doubt prioritising differently. It used to be all about fast food, and Danish beer was always thin and without any taste. Now, people are realising that there is more to fine dining than just French cuisine, wine and champagne. If I had to point to something Danish or Nordic about how the scene is looking today, that would be it: regarding quality and sustainability as standards to strive for in everything, including beer. It wasn’t always like this. Just a couple of years ago we had a handful of microbreweries in Denmark. Now we have more than 130. I think that says it all.” Back at Nordhavnen, Dan Stubbergaard is paying careful attention to how the project is developing. Soon, he and COBE will have to move from their current offices at the Paper Island, and nowhere seems like a better fit for the studio than the new Venice of the north. “We’re naturally really excited,” he says. “Nordhavnen is of course an incredibly important project for us, so we are keen to move closer to be right in the middle of everything. But it’s also important for the city. Copenhagen is changing for the better and reaching its true potential. It’s a truly unique feeling to be a part of it all.” THE GYPSY BREWER MIKKEL BORG BJERGSØ Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (41) is a former school teacher and elite runner and the founder of microbrewery Mikkeller. Mikkeller has expanded globally from its headquarters in Copenhagen in just 10 years and is today rated as the world’s third-best brewery. Bjergsø has earned himself a cult-like status as one of the best beer brewers in the world and is an indemand speaker at global culinary events. He lives in Copenhagen with his wife and two daughters. FAVOURITE PLACE “One of my favourite places in the city is actually a Chinese restaurant called Fu Hao, right by the central station. My wife, who’s half Chinese, introduced me to it and I love going there. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s very authentic and the food is great.” BEST TIP “I’d recommend anyone to go for a walk at Christiania and have a look at all the crazy self-built houses around the lakes out there. There is nothing in the world like Christiania. It’s so unique, I tell everyone to go see it.” mikkeller.com 77
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