8 things to look forward to in 2011

Eva Helbaek - 11/01/2011

I’ve taken a peak preview at the upcoming events in Danish gastronomy. Here are the highlights, as I see them, in the first quarter of 2011.

1. New Danish gourmet restaurant One of the grand old couples of Danish gastronomy opens their second restaurant, which will without a doubt be worth a visit. The people are Lisbeth and Bo Jacobsen from Restaurationen, which is, despite the loss of its Michelin star a couple of years back, regarded as one of Copenhagen’s best choices for classic gourmet food and enough of it. The new place is situated in Bo Bech’s former restaurant, Paustian, and on the menu one is supposedly going to find Danish dishes of gourmet standards. The first opening day is today, 11.1.11 at 11.11.

2. formel B goes casual Another Michelin restaurant that pursues the casual is formel B. Before Christmas the owners Rune and Christian announced that when the restaurant opens up again, they will sacrifice their one star for more guest and an informal atmosphere. On the menu will be French/Danish dishes of very high standards, but at affordable prices. The first opening date will be January 24th.

3. A Danish Bocuse d’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed from Geranium is a very stubborn man. He has participated in Bocuse d’Or twice; the first time he took home the bronze statuette, the second time the silver one, and he did also win the European Bocuse d’Or in 2010. This time only gold will satisfy him, and he is among the favourites. But are he and his assistant Frederik Rudkjøbing really going to make it? Fingers crossed January 25-26.

4. Bo Bech’s new restaurant Since Bo Bech – TV chef and former owner of Michelin restaurant Paustian, which closed a couple of monts ago - is now restaurantless, his next move is anticipated with excitement. If all goes well, his new place close to the city center is going to open up in March with food of very high standards served in a casual atmosphere.

5. More Michelin stars If/when Bo Bech and formel B lose their Michelin stars, and since MR closed in 2010, the total amount of Danish Michelin stars will be 3 numbers smaller than last year. Unless… Of course it is anticipated that Noma will get an extra, totalling three, and probably the new Geranium with Bocuse d’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed will also regain their star. Perhaps there will this year be a star for Mielcke & Hurtigkarl? They deserve it. Perhaps a star number two for AOC? Don’t know, but they certainly deserve it too. Besides it would make us Danes very proud, if Kiin Kiin’s sister restaurant in Bangkok, Sra Bua at the Siam Kempinski Hotel, gets a star. That would make it the first thai restaurant in Thailand and the 2nd Danish thai restaurant with a star. Not too bad. Guide Michelin Main Cities of Europe is out in March.

6. Malling & Schmidt expands Malling & Schmidt is in early spring going to move to much bigger localities in Gl. Åbyhøj, a grand villa and former gourmet restaurant in the outskirts of Aarhus. The style is still going to be Nordic with locally foraged produce and a story to accompany each dish. A sensory kitchen of gourmet standards. However, with more space, even more fun things can happen in Thorsten Schmidt slightly crazy cooking universe, and that is going to be interesting to follow.

7. Rasmus Grønbech strikes back Rasmus Grønbech was for many years head chef at Prémisse – the restaurant currently known as AOC. For some reason the people from Michelin did not like Rasmus’ food, and he therefore never managed to get a Michelin star for the restaurant, even though going there was a top gourmet experience with all that comes with it. Now he’s back in business and currently decorating his new restaurant at Esplanaden. Exactly what will be on the menu is still to be revealed, but as far as I’ve heard, the main focus will be on vegetables, and prices will be affordable. The opening date is not announced yet.

8. How about Mads Refslund? Mads Refslund closed his restaurant MR for the second time this summer, and since then he has repeatedly said that he will open a new restaurant. But when? Still there are no specific news about a date, location and even whether or not there will really be a new restaurant. Hopefully so, because Copenhagen’s gastronomic scene is certainly less interesting without Mads. -------------------- Eva Helbæk is editor of the Danish restaurant guide Spiseliv (currently on maternity leave).