World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Copenhagen, Denmark, in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, October 6, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.
Denmark was named the world's happiest country in the 2013 World Happiness Report, and Noma, the 45-seat restaurant in the capital city of Copenhagen, was crowned number one on the annual "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
But, the Danish people will be hesitant to tell you of such achievements given their Law of Jante, a Scandinavian mentality that essentially promotes the principle that one person is no better than anyone else.
Chef René Redzepi is the chef and owner of the much celebrated Noma.
"I’ve even been told that I have fascist tendencies in me. There have been op-eds written in Danish papers," he says, after garnering worldwide attention for his naturalist culinary style. He sources all of his ingredients from the Nordic region, the majority of them within 60 miles.
"Our eating traditions are not that big here," Redzepi tells host Anthony Bourdain. "Historically, we've eaten for survival."
There are, of course, the traditional Danish foods - pickled herring, rye bread, smoked eel, smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) - but Redzepi forages for wild ingredients, like reindeer moss, sorrel, flowers and beach cabbage, to connect diners with where they are in the world.
"If I were looking at this at home I would very much be thinking, come on man, it's grass. ...It’s green stuff. It all tastes the same," Bourdain says. "It totally doesn't!"
For Redzepi, it’s not just about pushing the envelope, it’s about discovering what is already out there and presenting it in a novel, thoughtful and delicious way.
If you're feeling ambitious, try one of Redzepi's recipes at home:
Potato Chips and Chicken Liver
Printed with permission from "René Redzepi: A Work in Progress" (Out on November 11, 2013)
Note: This recipe requires advanced techniques, accurate measurements using the metric system and special equipment to achieve good results.
1 baking potato, peeled
Chicken Liver Mousse
450g chicken livers
5g lemon thyme leaves, plus extra
85g apple balsamic vinegar, plus extra
12 verbena leaves, plus extra
10 dried black trumpet mushrooms
20g crème fraiche
apple cider vinegar
Black Trumpet Powder
100g dried black trumpet mushrooms
Cut the potato into thin long ribbons on a turning vegetable slicer. Soak the ribbons to remove the starch. Dry and weigh into 5g portions. Put four 5.3 cm ring molds into the base of a large pan. Add oil and heat to 145°C (290°F). Place a portion of potato into each ring mold and deep-fry to create crispy discs. Repeat. Keep on wax paper. Season with salt.
Chicken Liver Mousse
Wipe the chicken livers. Heat a little oil and sauté the chicken livers on both sides, until cooked but still pink inside. Sprinkle with lemon thyme leaves. Deglaze with a little apple balsamic vinegar and transfer the livers onto a tray to cool. Blend the livers with the verbena leaves, dried black trumpet mushrooms and butter until smooth. Season the mousse with salt and apple balsamic vinegar. Chop a few verbena and lemon thyme leaves and mix with the crème fraiche and 100g of the mousse. Season with salt and apple cider vinegar. Transfer to a pastry bag and keep at room temperature.
Black Trumpet Powder
Blend the dried mushrooms to a fine powder and strain. Keep in an airtight container.
Pipe a little chicken liver mousse along the edge of 4 crispy potato discs. Place a second disc on top. Sprinkle with black trumpet powder and serve.
10 things to know before visiting Copenhagen
Previously on "Parts Unknown":
– New Mexico
In New Mexico, choose a side: red or green
Bourdain cops to mistake on Frito pie canned chili claim
10 things to know before visiting New Mexico
- Granada, Spain
Traditional tapas in Granada
11 things to know before visiting Spain
– Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
In Jerusalem, even food origins are contentious
10 things to know before visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza
Bourdain has traditional Palestinian meal
SPAM and coq au vin on the Congo River
Peruvian food, from guinea pigs to pisco sours
Peruvian food is having a moment
Make perfect pisco sours and ceviche
South America's pisco enjoys North American revival
Breakfast in Libya
Where fast food tastes like freedom
iReport: In Morocco, eating is the spice of life
Street snacking in Morocco
O Canada! Our home and delicious land
Come for the strip bars, stay for the poutine
Colombian cuisine – from aguardiente to viche
Americans just don’t understand the potato. Colombians do.
– Los Angeles Koreatown
The ever-changing flavor of L.A.'s Koreatown
Bridging generations and cultures, one blistering bowl of bibimbap at a time
Los Angeles food trucks are in it for the long haul
Fall in love with Myanmar's cuisine
In Myanmar, drink your tea and eat it too
it's a boring and uninspiring place marked by not only it's vile people but also it's vapid landscapes. It's squaller living standard will bewilder and disgust any normal Americans'. And the food is beyond dull. -An American who lived there for 2 years.
Pork based blandness would be the best way to describe the cuisine.
And one more thing. Unless you are a multi millionaire who doesn't mind to spend money freely, Copenhagen is not for you. you simply can't enjoy any of these CNN and Bourbain experiences unless you have vast amounts of money at your disposal. You are better off finding jewel cities in the US like Asheville or Austin than traveling to Denmark and being truly disapointed. I lived there for two years, and other than the fact that I was able to travel Europe, I can't find many redeeming factors.
Since when is a very large, very old, capital city a "Part Unknown"?
redzepi needs to embrace his danishness and infuse some of his dishes in licorice.
Real people are using metric. Not all people are normal and we need to accept that.
Nothing beats PBJ – that's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, I do have an unsophisticated palate, but at least I am humble enough to admit it instead of pretending to be a phony food connoisseur that is so pretentious to the point of habitually gagging down lousy tasting food just to impress others.
pizza, with bacon.
Not real fond of this new feature on CNN. He's great on the food channel and I prefer it there.
Bourdain has become what he despises: an insufferably pretentious foodie with nothing much to say or teach. But Copenhagen IS one of the world's great cities.
There's a typo in the caption on slide 12. It should be "meat in **Tube** form"... and I do have to say that meat in tube form is hygge.
ps – visitdenmark.com's "what is hygge" video is awesome to learn about hygge.
Great catch on the typo! Thanks for the "hygge" link.
The PBS show on Danish food blows him our of the water. Nuf said...
I wonder if they will mention the 63 people who got food poisoning from eating at Noma in February.
Glad you mentioned this. Noma won best restaurant in the world, but I think its important to remember that you can make top food without the exotic ingredients and getting people sick.
As an American who had spent almost two years living in Denmark, going out for food is not the norm. I look forward to AB's take on this. If the word "hygge" or some form of it isn't used in this program, it will not be a typical example of the proud Danish people. Looking forward to the show.
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