Scandinavian Cooking Is Hot

Question: What country is the new culinary hot spot?

Wylie Dufresne: I would certainly say that Scandinavia is enjoying a well-deserved moment.  There are many chefs in Scandinavia right now that are doing some very, very interesting things.  Again, they’re introducing us, the world, the culinary world, to a whole new group of ingredients that we're unfamiliar with.  They’re exposing us to an approach, to a style of cooking that I think is... has been around for a long time, but we’re seeing it come back into vogue.  I think they’re doing some really good people, like René Redzepi, and Ulla Ruden, and Matthias Dahlgren and I mean the list goes on and on and on.  There’s a tremendous number of people in Scandinavia that are doing fantastic, fantastic stuff over there.   

And it’s good technique mixed with good ingredients mixed with a curiosity that’s yielding some delicious, fantastic food and I think that it’s really an exciting moment for that part of the world, and I think that that’s part of the natural sort of evolution of things.  We get excited about one place and then we get excited about another place.  

I also think Japan... I find Japan endlessly fascinating.  Part of that is because they have been so, so good at keeping us out and not letting us in, but now they’ve really... there’s a push right now to get Japanese food and culture, certainly here in America, in Europe, but even in New York, there’s a lot of people that are saying, Japanese people that are saying, look at what we are doing.  And it’s fascinating and it’s really interesting.  I find the Japanese approach to cooking to be endlessly interesting.  You know, we certainly haven’t heard the last of Spain and I don’t thing anyone should ever forget about France because France still has a pretty good track record.

Recorded August 6, 2010

Interviewed by Max Miller

There are some very interesting things coming out of the Nordic countries that could challenge the culinary hegemony of Spain and France.