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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chef Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma - long rated the world's top restaurant - and an early proponent of the foraging movement, looks forward to getting a sense of the lay of the land and forage in Hong Kong when he visits there next month.
"I would love to have the opportunity to go foraging in Hong Kong, but the climate is quite different to that of New York and Denmark. I would need a local guide who has knowledge of the local plants, mushrooms," the 36-year-old chef told Reuters.
"Foraging is a part of me, I get energy and inspiration. I couldn't cook without it."
Refslund helped spearhead the foraging movement that has become the heart of the New Nordic cuisine he has made globally famous, in particular at the Copenhagen restaurant Noma, which was voted the world's best restaurant for three consecutive years until losing the crown earlier this year.
He spoke with Reuters about his Hong Kong visit in June to take part in a food festival, and the New Nordic cuisine.
Q: What brings you to Hong Kong? What do you plan to do?
A: Well, first of all to cook my personal take on New Nordic Cuisine the best way possible for the guests at The Ritz-Carlton, who have been so kind to invite me to their festival. Secondly to explore the city at "ground level" through its tea houses, street kitchens, hidden culinary gems and cultural sights. Do my best to get the city under my skin during my two weeks stay. One week at The Ritz-Carlton in the sky and one week among the every day people sounds like the perfect combination to my first Hong Kong-visit.
Q: Noma lost its rating in March this year as "Best Restaurant in the World" to El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, what do you intend to do to make up for it?
A: There isn't much I can do besides doing my part in spreading the idea and great flavors of this fantastic new culinary language that Nordic Cuisine is. I think Noma has done a fantastic job in creating the best restaurant in the world in the eyes and mind of the staff, the management and René Redzepi. Their personal take on how the perfect restaurant should be while all the time developing a natural Nordic storytelling through food.
The last three years as No. 1 has given the restaurant that unique chance and it's still the best in the heart of countless diners across the world. The restaurant doesn't change due to going a step down a list.
Q: Noma is viewed as an expression of the new movement to spread New Nordic cuisine. How do you see the cuisine evolving as it becomes known globally?
A: Naturally through local terroirs (tastes of the earth)- meaning the thinking of New Nordic Cuisine has, - and will continuously spread through kitchens around the world. We see the influence of it in far away corners - in New Zealand, in Brazil, in Russia, in the US.
Q: How might your visit to Hong Kong influence your New Nordic cuisine? Which local ingredients from Hong Kong or Asia do you intend to include in your cuisine?
A: Most of the products I'll showcase will be as true as possible to the "classic" Nordic Cuisine, so I can show how things are made in Scandinavia. But as we get closer to my Hong Kong appearance, I'll try to look into what also can be used of local ingredients and thereby try to mix it into the Nordic base.
Raw Langoustine & Foie Gras with Peeled Walnuts and Burned Lemon Juice
200 g (7 oz) duck liver
120 g (4 oz) cleaned langoustine
12 pieces of fresh walnuts
wild cress (rinsed well)
4 T walnut oil
1 pc lemon
Pinch of salt
1. Removed the vein from the foie gras and freeze for 24 hours before use.
2. Remove heads and shells from the langoustine.
3. Cook walnuts in milk for a few minutes, then put them in ice water. Then remove the walnut skin with a small knife and cut into thin slices.
4. Chop the langoustine and place on a cold plate. Cut the foie gras into paper-thin slices directly from the freezer so it forms a sort of chips, then plate next to the langoustine.
5. Garnish with walnuts, lemon juice, salt, oil and wild cress.
Editing by Elaine Lies and Michael Perry