Henrik Ritzén visited Le Cordon Bleu London for a demonstration to showcase the very best of Nordic cuisine. Henrik was born and raised in Sweden, where he first learnt and developed his culinary skills working in Fiske Krogen before he moved to London to work in Blue Print Café and then in The Square. Today, he is the executive Chef at Michelin-starred Aquavit London, a high-end Scandinavian restaurant launched by himself and owner Philip Hamilton in 2016.
Henrik showcased to guests at the institute, some of the skills and techniques he uses in Aquavit London as he created a dish similar to that found on the menu: turbot with hay burnt potatoes, pickled cucumber with Sandefjord sauce. Chef Henrik focusses on the food and natural flavours from the ingredients, letting the plate talk for itself by showcasing the best produce in a harmonious way. He states: “We didn’t set out to create a Michelin star restaurant but were instead just trying to celebrate Nordic food as a brasserie, similar to many brilliant restaurants based in Gothenburg and Stockholm and other parts of Sweden.”
Aquavit delivers the very best of Nordic cuisine and 75% and up of ingredients used in the restaurant are UK-sourced with the remaining being European-sourced including their prawns from Norway and Herring from Sweden. The restaurant reduces waste by reusing the cast-off items such as the filleted fish carcass which can be used for stock, or the roe from the fish which is removed in filleting but can still be reused in another way.
As guests enjoyed tasters of the dish he prepared, Henrik explains his approach to cooking saying: “The most important thing with cooking is to have fun and you have to be enjoying it as if you aren’t enjoying it, then you aren’t going to learn nearly as much. When I started, I enjoyed it and had the passion from others around me and it didn’t even feel like I was learning as I found it so interesting it was just enjoyable throughout.”
To read the full review and see our upcoming guest chef events like this, visit our culinary conferences and cooking demonstrations page.