A Norwegian city with barely 180,000 residents has made a splash on the European food scene with two Michelin-starred restaurants included in the 2019 Michelin Nordic Guide.
Following weeks of speculation that anonymous inspectors were paying visits to Trondheim, Norway, the restaurants Credo and Fagn each won a coveted Michelin star. For many years, Credo has stood head and shoulders above the competition on Trondheim’s burgeoning food scene, and there had been many grumblings about the oversight.
The excitement at the Aarhus venue was palpable when Gwendal Poullennec, the International Director of Michelin Guides, announced in his opening speech that Trondheim was included in the guide for the first time.
Credo’s Heidi Bjerkan becomes the first female Norwegian chef to receive a star. Before the awards, organizers announced a new Michelin Nordic Guide Sustainability Award, which also went to Credo. Bjerkan grew up in Trondheim and spent many happy summers on her grandfather’s boat along central Norway’s coastline. According to Credo’s website, it was here she developed strong connections to the land and sea, which are reflected today in her cooking.
Bjerkan is passionate about raising awareness of food systems, improving land use practices and preserving traditional food cultures in Trøndelag, the region encompassing much of central Norway. Her passions are typical of food professionals across Trøndelag, where many restaurants focus on sustainability first and foremost.
While Credo’s awards were seen by many in the industry as overdue, Fagn’s award was something of a surprise as the restaurant has been open for less than two years. Founder and head chef Jonas Nåvik told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that within 45 minutes of receiving the award, they received 250 new bookings: “We knew nothing about it. I have always felt that we have worked properly in terms of food and customer care in order to create a good Trondheim food experience. Now we have to set new goals. One cannot rest our laurels, we must continue to develop”.
In a sign of how tightly-knit Trondheim’s food scene is, Fagn occupies the city center premises vacated by Credo a few years ago. Nåvik also revealed that he worked under Heidi Bjerken as an apprentice, calling her “the pillar of Trøndelag food”.
Local food culture meets fine dining
Momentum certainly seems to be with Trondheim. Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv declared Trondheim ‘Norway’s food capital’ in late 2018, a title that surely seems apt now that the Michelin Guide has recognised the city.
Local food critic Håvard Egge writes for the local Trondheim newspaper Adresseavisen and told Forbes that the food scene in Trondheim has, like other parts of Norway, grown rapidly in the past years: “Many of us living here benefit from the world-class produce on a daily basis. The restaurant scene has focused on showcasing this traditional food culture by combining it with fine dining concepts. For example, Credo present traditional local produce like rakfisk (fermented trout) and wild plants with modern cooking methods. The chefs are part of the whole food process and can tell the story behind each and every ingredient”.
Elsewhere in the region
In addition to Trondheim’s success, Oslo’s Maaemo retained its three stars to cement its reputation as Norway’s best restaurant. Galt, Kontrast and Statholdergaarden also retained their single stars. In Stavanger, Renaa and Sabi Omakase also each picked up a star.
Bjørn Svensson, head chef at Oslo’s Galt congratuled the newcomers. “It’s very cool for Trondheim, I tipped them both”, he told Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper.
Elsewhere in the Nordic region, Copenhagen’s Noma won two Michelin stars, as did Stockholm’s Gastrologik and Koks in the Faroe Islands.