You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Nordic and nice for New York foodies

Press AssociationPress Association 23/06/2016 Ella Walker

Claus Meyer has spent the morning chopping up a raw inner-thigh of beef to make beetroot tartar with horseradish.

The restaurateur, businessman and chef is what you'd call supremely Nordic - from his no-nonsense attitude, to his chiselled, Viking cheekbones.

That and the fact he spearheaded the Nordic cuisine food movement and co-founded Noma, widely considered the best restaurant in the world.

When a 10-week-only pop-up restaurant opened in Sydney's Barangaroo precinct in January, all 5500 reservations booked out in four minutes.

"It's difficult to compare anything with Noma,but it wasn't my achievement alone, I had a very good chef and friend and partner with me down the road in Rene (Redzepi), and he grew a lot through the project," says Meyer.

"He was an unknown chef when we started, now he's the most known chef in the whole world."

Noma sent Meyer stratospheric in the world of food, while driving the New Nordic Cuisine movement, and developing a manifesto for it in 2004 saw him define and develop a whole new way of thinking about and working with food in Denmark, focusing on simplicity, seasonality and freshness.

"Not only did we launch the Nordic Cuisine, we also launched the concept of any region having the potential - not only the right - but also the possibility, to suddenly capture the moment," he says proudly.

Meyer captured his personal ideas on food and shared his recipes for home cooks when he first wrote The Nordic Kitchen.

It was at a time where, he explains, having launched Noma and Nordic Cuisine, he "wanted to translate all the culinary ideas and bring them into a home cooking context".

Meyer can seem severe, and the recipes spare, but, he says: "I consider my food, or any food, like a draft - people should not be afraid to change the recipes slightly, and they should definitely season it so it works for them. Seasoning food is very important, chopping up things and putting them in a salad bowl is so easy, but getting the dressing right? It's so important."

Roughly 10 months ago, the 52-year-old moved with his wife, three daughters and two dogs to New York, and although he's "not missing Denmark as much as I would have expected", his new project is perhaps his most ambitious to date.

The plan is to open a Nordic brasserie and food hall in Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal.

"It's one thing speaking about a project, inventing it, financing it and looking at all the details, but when it starts becoming an operation that runs all day long, all year long, it's a different animal," Meyer explains.

"So I'm really scared - but I'm also looking forward to get into it. I'm tired of planning and designing it, spending 20 million US dollars getting it up and running, I just want to see that animal. It's like training a racehorse: you're in the training field for years, and you want that horse to run."

As you'd imagine, he gets very few days off, but when he does, Meyer says: "I play tennis and do sport with my girls, I read a little bit, I try and discover New York. But besides cooking, running this show, being there for the family, being present, whether that means making an ice-cream with the ice-cream machine, going for a walk with the dogs in the park, watching a nice film - in between those very, very down-to-earth, basic family things, like taking a long breakfast together on a Sunday morning, there is not much time.

"Having brunch is not a passion, but you have to have that in your life somewhere."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon