2019 was awesome. I hope 2020 will be similar! I can’t count the number of stars but it’s quite a lot. From one to three in Europe and top restaurants in the world’s 50 best for South America.
January and February are inactive for restaurants as this is vacation time. March started passionately with a visit to Oslo, Norway. Especially at Kontrast* and Maaemo***. This is quite funny to find out that at both places there were the same guests… Both restaurants are astonishing for the quality of food and hospitality. Big up to the Maaemo team who found me 100 meters away from the restaurant to welcome me. Katla is another recommendation I can share for Oslo. On the bars side, svanen and the « find me if you can » himkok are the best in town. I will visit Maaemo this year again to check the new project as they move to another location and re-open in April 2020.
April is another nordic country. Sorry not sorry they are the best for foodies. And this is… Denmark! The highlight was Noma**, Alouette* and Geranium***. The last one has the best hospitality ever I had so far at a restaurant. Precise and out of space on client needs without doing too much. At Noma, I had the opportunity to share my culinary experiences with guests around the world at the communal table. This table settings is always souvenirs for life.
In May, Agrikultur* in Stockholm, Sweden was remarkable. The kitchen is young but the strongest in town. The future is coming from here. Tim Raue** in Berlin, Germany was food perfection but the strangest hospitality ever like almost throwing the plates and all waiters wearing the same Nike shoes.
Back to Denmark in August. 108, Barr and Amass. The latter is my favourite restaurant this year for the atmosphere, service attention, the food and the visit to the garden. The best mackerel I had in my entire life. Back to France, I was invited to Eden Roc restaurant for a lunch. Let’s see what’s going on this year as they will have some help from Eric Frechon*** to boost the kitchen level meanwhile their dessert team is already world-class.
In September I went to the top restaurants in Peru. Especially Statera, Maido and Central. They need to improve on service but the food is finest. This is a new kind of products I wasn’t accustomed. Some were surprising like piranha and the different potatoes from the Peru. The gastronomy scene is growing fast in Lima. It may become a food hub in South America.
In October, it’s worth a visit in Amsterdam to dine at Spectrum** and &Moshik**. Both chefs are creative. Food is tasty, savoury and come with an original presentation. The year came to an end with visits to Gastrologik**, Ekstedt* and Sushi Sho* in Sweden. Read more here. Adventures will continue soon with a visit to Frantzen*** in March 2020. It’s terminus for Winter so let’s go and travel the world for food again!
It is 7.30am. Let’s drive with Christian Morisset to Cannes Forville market. He is the owner and chef of le Figuier de Saint-Esprit, a renowned Michelin star restaurant in Antibes. We will spend half the day drinking coffee, talk with farmers, buy products at the market for the restaurant, visit the boucherie agricole and finish with the chef’s personal shopping at the bio grocery because, yes, we are all humans and are born to share.
I won the game “A market tour with our chef” by Le Figuier Saint-Esprit, the only Michelin star restaurant in the old town of Antibes, France. Let’s start with a story rich of emotions moment with Christian Morisset and humans of the Forville market in Cannes.
We meet at the corner of Boulevard Wilson to drive with the car full of crates! It’s Sunday and the road on the sea side is almost empty. We arrive at marche Forville in Cannes. The best market according to the chef in the Antibes neighbor for its price and quality of products. The Kangoo is now in the parking. Let’s go to La Cannoise to meet Christian’s friends. They are farmers and talk about Nice-Matin gossips and how the farmer work may be run under better conditions in France. After a coffee and a croissant, we move to the market.
We start in the center of the market by greeting the farmer who sells his vegetables. The chef and I taste some veggies. We then move to the mushrooms stable, take some and another vegetables stand. The farmers being in the middle of the market, we skip the ones on the borders. Especially the fish ones but only the person I know may hear the full story. For people wondering about the Antibes provencal market, it is the same. Resellers on the borders and farmers in the middle. Enough of vegetables for today! We stroll, spend money of the restaurant envelope, chat with the cheese producer, taste fromage, visit the flower shop for a chef’s wife gift. He really is a lover! We then move to the fruits stable to get our crates full of figs. Christian is a rock star and a guest since ages to all these farmers that we complete the tour after three hours or so. The time is going fast. Mission accomplished!
Next is a tour at la boucherie agricole. They are well-known in the area to provide the best meat pieces. Meanwhile the chef is talking with the front of house, I start the visit of the butchery. From cold chain course to meat chop tables, I get a nice overview of how a butchery works before the exposition of the meats to customers. Thanks to boucherie agricole staff! After this cherry on the cake, we move to the bio market to get some ingredients for the chef to cook at home. Finally, he admit his favorite meal is a cheese plate and a good glass of wine.
On the way back to Antibes we talk about the food industry, difficulties the chefs face in the french riviera, his journey from cooking as a child to become a successful chef. If you are a young chef and read this article, always work hard. It will pay off!
Il est 7h30. En route avec Christian Morisset au marché de Cannes Forville. Il est le propriétaire et chef du Figuier de Saint-Esprit, un restaurant étoilé Michelin réputé à Antibes. Nous passerons la moitié de la journée à boire du café, parler aux agriculteurs, achèterons des produits au marché pour le restaurant, visiterons la boucherie agricole et terminerons les achats personnels du chef à l’épicerie bio parce que, oui, nous sommes tous humains et sommes nés pour partager.
J’ai gagné le jeu “Une visite du marché avec notre chef” du Figuier Saint-Esprit, le seul restaurant étoilé Michelin de la vieille ville d’Antibes. Commençons par une histoire riche en émotions avec Christian Morisset et les humains du marché Forville à Cannes.
On se retrouve au coin du boulevard Wilson pour rouler avec la voiture pleine de cagettes ! C’est dimanche et la route côté mer est presque vide. Nous arrivons au marché Forville à Cannes. Le meilleur marché selon le chef dans le voisinage Antibois pour son prix et la qualité des produits. Le Kangoo est maintenant gré au parking. Allons à La Cannoise pour rencontrer les amis de Christian. Ils sont agriculteurs et parlent des commérages sur fond de Nice-Matin et de la manière dont le travail des agriculteurs peut se dérouler dans de meilleures conditions en France. Après un café et un croissant, nous passons au marché.
Nous partons au centre du marché en saluant l’agriculteur qui vend ses légumes. Le chef et moi dégustons des légumes. Nous passons ensuite à l’étable aux champignons, puis d’autres et enfin un dernier stand de légumes. Les agriculteurs étant au milieu du marché, on évite ceux aux bordures qui sont des revendeurs. Surtout les poissons, mais seule la personne qui me demanderont entendrons toute l’histoire. Pour ceux qui s’interrogent sur le marché provençal d’Antibes, c’est pareil. Revendeurs sur les côtés et agriculteurs au centre. Assez de légumes pour aujourd’hui! Nous nous promenons, dépensons l’argent de l’enveloppe du restaurant, discutons et dégustons avec le producteur de fromage, visitons le magasin de fleurs pour un cadeau à la femme de chef. C’est vraiment un lover! Nous nous dirigeons ensuite vers l’étable des fruits pour remplir nos caisses de figues. Christian est une rock star et un invité depuis des lustres auprès de tous ces agriculteurs avec qui nous terminons la tournée au bout de trois heures environ. Le temps passe vite. Mission accomplie!
Ensuite, une visite à la boucherie agricole. Ils sont bien connus dans la région pour fournir les meilleurs morceaux de viande. Pendant que le chef parle avec les patrons, je commence la visite de la boucherie. De la chaîne du froid aux tables de découpe de viande, j’obtiens un bon aperçu du fonctionnement d’une boucherie avant l’exposition des viandes en vitrine. Merci au personnel de la boucherie agricole! Après cette cerise sur le gâteau, nous passons au marché bio pour récupérer des ingrédients pour le chef qu’il cuisinera à la maison. Enfin, il admet que son plat préféré est une bonne assiette de fromages et un bon verre de vin.
Sur le chemin du retour à Antibes, nous parlons de l’industrie alimentaire, des difficultés rencontrées par les chefs sur la Côte d’Azur, de son parcours de cuisinier enfant pour devenir un chef à succès. Si vous êtes un jeune chef et lisez cet article, travaillez toujours dur. Ça va payer!
The event is in Grand Hotel, Stockholm. This is the day where it’s not the good day to have a cocktail in town. All the best bartenders from the nordics gather to celebrate, cheers and have fun.
I’ve heard about it at Hobo as they host the after-party. All drinks were replaced with sponsors’s ones so I decides to move to Le Hibou. This is a chic rooftop bar located at Bank, a small luxury hotel open last year. Actually, the bar is popular among swedes including starred chefs like Carl, sushi head chef at Sushi Sho. Le Hibou is a nominee for the best new cocktail bar. The menu includes a dozen of cocktails. My choice is going to the Sichuan wood as a throwback to Peru and to get a spicy note to contrast the cold weather outside. The Sichuan wood is made of pisco from Chile, peach, thai chili, sichuan pepper, citrus and egg white.
After spending some time at Le Hibou, let’s move to the BCA afterparty. The place is so full that the top bartenders of the nordics start to help the local barmaid behind the bar. Good time here! The day before, we went to a bar called Gemma with Linda before our dinner at Gastrologik. The Gemma owners Johan Evers and Oscar Drigoris, are both very respected in the bar industry. Not a surprise they win the best new cocktail bar award. After a long recovery night, let’s go to the after-after party at Tjoget. They win the best cocktail bar award in Stockholm and still held the 37th place at the worlds 50 best bar in the world. There, I recognized some faces from a previous travel in Oslo. Svanen win the best new cocktail bar in Norway and Himkok win the best international cocktail bar award. Hence, I tried the Tjoget signature cocktail made of beetroot sous-vide infused vodka, coconut syrup, lemon, ginger and grated nutmeg. Superb!
A few hours later, I met the US brand representative selling the Åhus aquavit for Pernod-Ricard at my hotel. So here we are with another round. This conclude the Stockholm trip. The head in the snow! See you later for another social experience.
It has been since October that my minimalist backpack was idling in the entrance. Waiting for a new trip after the visit of the best South of America restaurants including Central, Kjolle, Maido, Mayta and Statera in Lima, Peru. I met Linda last year at Oaxen, She is a Swedish foodie and will join me at Gastrologik for a dinner. Heja Sverige! Time for human experience…
Besides the food, the main reason of my visit was to participate to the Stockholm Santa Run. A charity event for children with function disabilities. After the 3 kilometers race, it’s relax time. It’s official! I am now a sauna fan. Swedes call it Bastu when you go the hard way: back and forth between sweating naked in the hot sauna and the frozen lake water. It is an interesting experience to feel like a local but let’s back to restaurants world for a review of the top3 restaurants I have been this week.
There is no electric griddle or gas stove at Ekstedt. Only the natural heat of fire help the chefs to cook. The large menu is 6 courses with lobster, cabbage, scallop, turbot and reindeer. You will feel the smoke and the wood fired cooking difference on the ingredients. For the still hungry, you can have a Kvarnhagen cheese with Gotland truffles and caramelized shallots and a glass of white wine as goes my wine preference for cheese. The service is lovely and attentive but the wait time between courses may be too long. Notably, there is a kitchen tour at the beginning of the dinner to focus on the cooking techniques and tools. A refreshing approach of the kitchen tour!
You are in the most Japanese restaurant of Sweden. It is an edomae bar. All the guests arrive at the same time in the restaurant. Swedes strictly follow the schedule. I’m not convince this could work in France. Carl, the sushi head chef follow the traditional omakase style. The guests listen, observe and eat during the chef preparation. Have you heard about Otoro before? This is the most noble part of a tuna and every guest will have the choice between sashimi, nigiri or tartare with caviar topping for the service. To accompany the fish, I recommend to go for the Sake pairing. You will remember for sure the fermented sake with an acid note and white color. Another foodie sitting next to me frequently goes to Japan, know tips to bring back sake bottles in a safe way to the kingdom and Sushi Sho is its favorite place in Stockholm.
This is my second visit at Gastrologik. Let’s see what’s new. There is still a long menu of twenty snacks that change every day based on the ingredients availability and quality with a focus on the season. Previously, there was only sea and earth products from Sweden. It seems today there is a change in the strategy. You will find some fish from Norway and a sea urchin from Iceland. The flavors, textures and freshness are exploding in mouth. It is more refined than my previous visit. Every bite has its own personality. Still, they are successful to keep an overall balance for the whole experience. Mastering the juice pairing is an art. Indeed, it lack some punch! The service is yet over the top. I will just be nostalgic to not having Hanna W. on board as the restaurant general manager and with the Hernö gin tasting during the kitchen tour two years ago. Tack!
Other cool spots this week
Vete-Katten for pastry and coffee
Snö for ice cream
Christmas buffet at Den Gyldene Freden
Reindeer meat at Marten Trotzig
Burger at Bun Meat Bun
The French Connection meetup at Kaferang
Ok but drinks?
Of course Yes! Stay tune for the Bartender’s Choice Awards 2019 article. A great human story is coming.