Geranium's Søren Ledet on award-winning hospitality, making mistakes and Copenhagen’s food scene

Laura Price - 27/07/2018

Header: Rasmus Kofoed and Søren Ledet (right) and the Geranium dining room

After winning the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award for Geranium, the restaurant in Copenhagen he co-founded with chef Rasmus Kofoed, wine director and general manager Søren Ledet talks to 50 Best about moving from kitchen to dining room, the growth of his city’s restaurant scene and the one thing he’d love foodies to know.

At Geranium, we have both feet on the ground and we always smile. Our hospitality is not just about the food and the wine, it’s all about the guests and what we can do for them, so they can relax and enjoy the experience.

Rasmus’s food is, of course, the fundamental basis for the experience, but it is the balance of relaxed yet professional service, wine pairings, tableside servings and personality that complete it and create the ambience.

I love to work on new juice pairings, wine pairings or service improvements. But what I most look forward to is the service – that’s where I can make a difference. I just love to see happiness in our guests’ eyes.

What drives us day in and day out is passion. Every week, Rasmus and I sit down and talk about the things we can improve – there’s always something we can improve on.

Moving from the kitchen to the dining room was probably the best thing I’ve done for myself and for Geranium. When Rasmus and I opened the restaurant, we were both in the kitchen, but after a while decided that one of us should be front of house. Since I had fallen in love with wine, it seemed natural that I made the transition. It opened my mind and opened a door to a whole new world, which I fell in love with instantly.


Scallop in juniper aroma, Ingrid Marie reduction and browned butter (image: Claes Bech-Poulsen) 

I'm a competitive person.
When I was a chef, I competed in cooking competitions and when I changed to front of house I competed in service competitions. I love being a sommelier and I take it very seriously. I study as much as I can to become better and I compete to stay sharp so that I can provide a better service for my guests.

I still have many things to learn and I still make many mistakes. But as we always say: every mistake we make is a step towards success.

My background as a chef has enabled me to understand both sides of the pass. It makes it easier for me to explain cooking techniques to the guests and it has also given me a great understanding and appreciation of every position in the restaurant. It’s a strength I can use every day and knowledge I can pass on to the front of house team.

I don’t have a ‘favourite’ type of guest. I honour and respect every guest who comes to Geranium. They don’t have to earn our trust and appreciation – they have it already and I think it’s an important mind set to have in order to provide the best possible service and create a unique experience.


Rasmus Kofoed and Søren Ledet with Ferrari Trento CEO Matteo Lunelli

Within the last decade, Copenhagen has really established itself as a true dining destination.
It has a lot to do with the global awareness created by us, by our good friends at Noma and a handful of talented and passionate chefs and restaurants.

It has given our region and our produce a lot of attention and given us an amazing tool to create great meals. There has also been a big movement towards healthier, organic, biodynamic and sustainable foods, which I think will continue to grow going into the next decade. Our guests’ awareness is now higher and their expectations keep growing.

There is one thing I’d love foodies to know: that what’s more important than the food and wine is with whom you share it. Enjoy the moment for what it is and not for what you thought it would be.

We try hard to make sure we give every guest an equally good experience, but at the same time we customise when we can. We try to meet special requirements, such as more red wine in the pairing or beer pairings or more privacy and language requirements. But mostly we try to blend in something unique to celebrate a special occasion, like an extra serving, a digestif tasting or a special wine, maybe a special vintage.


Geranium's dining room

We had a guest who loved to open wine, so we arranged for her to open a red wine with the port tong, which she had never tried.
That made her night special. Mostly it’s about being present and aware of your guests’ needs.

There is no other profession that is growing and constantly changing as much as the restaurant industry. There’s always something new going on in every little region around the world – wine and food, there’s always movement and in this profession you can actually be a part of it, or even be a pioneer, if you’re passionate enough.

There’s a healthy competition in the restaurant industry that always pushes us to perform at a higher level and gain more knowledge. It’s a curse and a gift at the same time, and it makes this industry so special and unique… I love it to death.

We are very truly honoured to win this award. It means a lot to the whole team and it’s an amazing and very special feeling.

Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 8.
DK-2100 Copenhagen
+45 6996 0020

Geranium is the third winner of the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award, which was introduced to The World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2016 in conjunction with the Italian winery to celebrate outstanding hospitality experiences. The inaugural winner was Eleven Madison Park in New York in 2016, with El Celler de Can Roca winning the award in 2017.

See highlights from the 2018 awards ceremony, including the moment Geranium won the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award:

Follow 50 Best on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter for more restaurant news, interviews and videos.