Claus Meyer is the ultimate ambassador of Nordic cuisine.
It is hard not to be impressed by his dedication to the cause. He helped write the Manifesto for New Nordic Cuisine, a set of commandments calling for a return to regional and traditional foods endorsed by many Scandinavian chefs. He hosted his own TV-series on cooking entitled ‘Meyers Koekken’ (Meyer’s Kitchen). He produces a balsamic-style vinegar based on apples and plums from his own orchard. He created a center for cooking classes, wrote many books, gives lectures, and owns several other food-related companies. Oh, and he also co-founded Noma, the world’s best restaurant.
All his projects revolve around one main goal: Promote the New Nordic Cuisine Movement, which seeks to foster local agriculture, honor the region’s agrarian traditions, encourage environmentally friendly production, and establish food with a uniquely Nordic identity among the world’s great cuisines.
Where does this passion for cooking come from?
The contrast between the first nineteen years of my life, lived in a culinary darkness and then one year spent in Paris and Agen, a culinary paradise.
Where did you learn/train?
Guy Sverzut, Agen, France, otherwise autodidact
Any special projects at the moment?
We recently opened a high end “new nordic” retailbakery and have gone into the specialty flour business. Also we are setting up a fond aiming at helping disadvantaged young people through food.
Best thing about your job:
I follow my heart, I have the space to improve everyday. I feel that I help other people and the I work for the benefit of future organizations. If I do not make decisions that favour “the good, the true and the beautiful” it is my own fault.
You, in three words:
Familyfather, enjoy, improve
What inspires you?
Nature, travelling, reading, silence
How would you describe your style?
Casual, anti-authoritarian, enthousiastic
Best thing(s) about Scandinavia:
Seasonality, the abundance of nature, our produce and our democracy.
Henning Larsen, John Kørner, and Rene Redzepi
Best address-book secret:
Tinggarden between Helsinge and Frederiksværk, northern seeland, I love to have lunch or dinner at this humble restaurant of the great Danish chef and cooking personality Jan Friis Mikkelsen
Favourite meal and/or ingredient(s):
I could not live without great bread, nice cheese and good vinegar.
Favourite kitchen gadget:
Bread Kneeding machine – necessary for great dough.
Scandinavian tradition(s) you love:
The way we celebrate christmas.
Favourite travel spot:
Thailand and Sweden
You, in five years:
Basically the same. Succeeded in putting my sense of food and entrepreneurship at the disposal of projects aiming at helping disadvantaged people.
Best entrepreneurship advice:
Follow your heart, not the money.
Top cooking advice for home enthusiasts:
Season carefully, not just with salt but also with sources of acidity, sweetness and bitterness, making sure also always to stimulate the trigeminal sense.