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  • Hilde Huus

New Nordic Cuisine

New Nordic cuisine is based on traditional Nordic cuisine since part of “New” cuisine means being sustainable and when food is involved, sustainable usually means local. So New Nordic cuisine uses local ingredients, including food that is foraged, hunted, and fished locally, the same ingredients that were used for centuries in traditional cuisine. But of course there is a twist! And the twist is that those ingredients are used in new, nontraditional ways.

The popularity of New Nordic cuisine has spread internationally and it is particularly at home in Canada, where our northern climate produces local ingredients that are very similar to those of the Nordic countries.

Per Unheim, Head of Public Affairs and Trade at the Embassy of Iceland in Ottawa, joined us via Zoom on March 30 to tell us about how the Nordic embassies, with the support of the Nordic Council of Ministers, are involved in promoting Nordic expertise, culinary tools, and food products. The Nordic Council of Ministers created The New Nordic Food Manifesto in 2004. The Manifesto’s ten aims focus on “purity, season, ethics, health, sustainability and quality.” Working together, the embassies hope to influence the “influencers” to transfer Nordic cuisine best practices to Canadian chefs.

The embassies worked with Sysco Canada, a food and food-related items distribution company, to create an online mini-series of videos. Per Unheim showed us some snippets and we were particularly impressed by the one from Iceland that featured an Arctic char producer whose success came from using land-based aquaculture in a lava field. One focussing on Denmark has also been produced. They were originally live-streamed with opportunities to interact at the time. The three remaining videos will be scheduled live as follows: • Norway, Friday, April 28, at 3:00 PM • Sweden, Tuesday, May 9, at 3:00 PM • Finland, Tuesday, May 23, at 3:00 PM They will be streamed on Sysco Canada’s Facebook page and it’s @SyscoCanadaChannel.

The Canadian Culinary Federation, Canada’s largest federally chartered professional chefs’ organization, will be making New Nordic cuisine the focus of its annual conference in June. The conference provides chefs with opportunities to network and advance their careers. This year it will be held in Niagara Falls from June 4 to 8. A portion of tickets to the final gala dinner on June 8th is expected be available for members of the public on a first-come-first- served basis.

Per Unheim was happy to answer our questions following his talk, which were certainly varied, including quite a long discussion about Nordic hot dogs and which of the preferred condiments in the Nordic countries were the best. We’ll see if we can make some available at the mid-summer celebration we are planning for late June. More details to come!

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