Chef’s Dinner at Kontrast Ten Top Chefs Making One Dish Each

Having just attended an amazing chef’s meetup at Hotel Frederiksminde in Denmark, I was excited when Mikael Svensson of restaurant Kontrast invited nine other top chefs to join him for a similar evening in Oslo. “Mikael & Friends” was a night where each chef made one dish each, combined to make a full ten-course tasting menu. I really looked forward to this event, but at the same time I was skeptical. Could it become too experimental? Would each chef try to top the others with more spectacular presentations and ingredients? Luckily, my skepticism was turned into amazement once again.

Quail hearts glaced with juniper berry hanging from the famous "Juniper" by Odd Standard
Quail hearts glaced with juniper berry hanging from the famous “Juniper” by Odd Standard
Christopher Haatuft from Lysverket in Bergen and Mikael Svensson from Kontrast
Christopher Haatuft from Lysverket in Bergen and Mikael Svensson from Kontrast

Mikael Svensson’s restaurant Kontrast is probably the most likely contender in Oslo for a Michelin star. It has the style of presentation, the ambience and the high quality of cooking that is needed. Currently the tasting menu they offer is one of the best value for money meals you will eat in this city. As such it was a natural gathering point for a dinner of this caliber. I hope Mikael was satisfied and got the inspiration to do even more events like this in the future!

Praline of Holtefjell XO cheese and cauliflower
Praline of Holtefjell XO cheese and cauliflower
Filip Langhof from one Michelin star restaurant Ask in Helsinki & Esben Holmboe-Bang from two Michelin star restaurant Maaemo in Oslo
Filip Langhof from one Michelin star restaurant Ask in Helsinki & Esben Holmboe-Bang from two Michelin star restaurant Maaemo in Oslo

Mikael had invited his friends Eyvind Hellstrøm, Esben Holmboe Bang from Maaemo in Oslo, Mats & Ebbe Vollmer from Vollmers in Malmö, Måns Backlund from soon-to-open restaurant Bekk in Gothenburg, José Gabriel Cerdá Contreras of restaurant Hoze in Gothenburg, Filip Langhoff & Linda Stenman Langhoff of restaurant Ask in Helsinki, Christopher Haatuft from restaurant Lysverket in Bergen, Stefan Ekengren from Görvälns slott outside Stockholm, and Jacob Holmström from Gastrologik in Stockholm. Eyvind Hellstrøm later had to cancel, but that was sorted by Esben and Mikael making one bonus dish each.

Fermented yellow turnip with pickled chanterelle and tenderloin of a heifer from Grøndalen Gård
Fermented yellow turnip with pickled chanterelle and tenderloin of a heifer from Grøndalen Gård

Out of all these restaurants I have only had the pleasure of dining at Maaemo and Ask so far. Although, I have shared a taxi with Jakob from Gastrologik. Unfortunately I have not been a guest at his restaurant yet, but it is my number one priority once I am back in Stockholm. It was after the Michelin guide launch party that André Blomberg-Nygård and I ended up splitting a cab with the guys. André was at my table for this event too, and Jakob did actually remember us. Lysverket and Hoze has been on my wish list for a long time, and after this event the rest of these restaurants have joined that list for sure.

Soup of brown crab with broccoli, crab meat and pickled dill oil. By Mats & Ebbe Vollmer of restaurant Vollmers in Malmö
Soup of brown crab with broccoli, crab meat and pickled dill oil. By Mats & Ebbe Vollmer of restaurant Vollmers in Malmö
Rietsch Alsace Sylvaner 2014. Nice acidic structure, a gentle fresh sweetness. Green apples!
Rietsch Alsace Sylvaner 2014. Nice acidic structure, a gentle fresh sweetness. Green apples!
Kontrast's sourdough bread, served with lardo in stead of butter. Yum!
Kontrast’s sourdough bread, served with lardo in stead of butter. Yum!

In addition to André I had my friends Marius and Sindre at the table. The four foodies of the round table! We all shared an equal amount of excitement and skepticism, but ended up being pleasantly surprised and consistently satisfied. The chefs seemed to be having a really good time and the atmosphere was highly informal. As the evening progressed we forgot were in a restaurant. There was so many chefs inside and outside the kitchen, cooking, serving and drinking, that we felt more like we were in their living room observing. Most importantely; the quality of the food was overall excellent and most of the dishes were even unique, creative and extremely tasty.

"Fit for a Sailor". Half baked mussels with tomato gel, ailoi and baby onions. It was great to have a dish from José Cerdá of restaurant Hoze, where I am really looking forward to go one day. However, the mussels kinda disappeared in too many other elements
“Fit for a Sailor”. Half baked mussels with tomato gel, ailoi and baby onions. It was great to have a dish from José Cerdá of restaurant Hoze, where I am really looking forward to go one day. However, the mussels kinda disappeared in too many other elements
M. & S. Bouchet, Blanc de Chenin, 2011. A bit short, oxidized and tastes of calvados.
M. & S. Bouchet, Blanc de Chenin, 2011. A bit short, oxidized and tastes of calvados.
José Cerdá of the 6 seat restaurant Hoze in Gothenburg presents his dish
José Cerdá of the 6 seat restaurant Hoze in Gothenburg presents his dish
Kaskinauris in a roll, being prepared for the next serving. A special turnip grown in base rich earth
Kaskinauris in a roll, being prepared for the next serving. A special turnip grown in base rich earth
Filip from restaurant Ask in Helsinki presents his dish
Filip from restaurant Ask in Helsinki presents his dish
"Kaskinauris", which is a turnip grown in base rich earth, with smoked reindeer heart and pickled spruce shots. By Filip and Linda Langhoff of restaurant Ask in Helsinki
“Kaskinauris”, which is a turnip grown in base rich earth, with smoked reindeer heart and pickled spruce shots. By Filip and Linda Langhoff of restaurant Ask in Helsinki
2011 Sebastien Riffault, Sancerrre, Auksinis. Very oxidized, like sherry or rotten apples.
2011 Sebastien Riffault, Sancerrre, Auksinis. Very oxidized, like sherry or rotten apples.
Linda Langhoff, the wife and partner of Filip at restaurant Ask in Helsinki, was our sommelier for the evening
Linda Langhoff, the wife and partner of Filip at restaurant Ask in Helsinki, was our sommelier for the evening

It was such a pleasure to meet Filip and Linda again. We met the first time in Stockholm after the Michelin guide launch half a year ago. Later on I visited them at their restaurant Ask in Helsinki. The wonderful couple had taken some days off work to visit Oslo, where they used to work before. The day after the event was actually Linda’s birthday! On Tuesday, the following day, they had a table booked at restaurant Kontrast themselves. I bet you won’t find a more humble and nice chef couple anywhere on this planet. Make sure to visit their restaurant if you ever find yourself in Helsinki.

The sister of Filip from Ask, Anni Langhoff, works at Kontrast and was helping Linda to serve wines
The sister of Filip from Ask, Anni Langhoff, works at Kontrast and was helping Linda to serve wines
This was my absolute favorite of the night! Original presentation, a fun element where you crush the top to reveal the insanely flavor rich dish underneath. I wish I had the recipe for the bread on top!
This was my absolute favorite of the night! Original presentation, a fun element where you crush the top to reveal the insanely flavor rich dish underneath. I wish I had the recipe for the bread on top!
2012 Domaine de L'Horizon, Blanc. Dry and light, but fresh and aromatic
2012 Domaine de L’Horizon, Blanc. Dry and light, but fresh and aromatic
Crush the crispy bread to reveal your onion soup!
Crush the crispy bread to reveal your onion soup!
Onion soup with a pork broth, onions and a malt bread. Impressive dish by Stefan Ekengren of Görvälns slott outside Stockholm
Onion soup with a pork broth, onions and a malt bread. Impressive dish by Stefan Ekengren of Görvälns slott outside Stockholm
Jacob Holmström of one Michelin star restaurant Gastrologik and Stefan Ekengren of restaurant Görvälns slott in Stockholm
Jacob Holmström of one Michelin star restaurant Gastrologik and Stefan Ekengren of restaurant Görvälns slott in Stockholm

Jacob and his chef partner was actually supposed to serve their dish before Stefan and Görvälns slott, according to the menu. However, the Gastrologik guys managed to miss their flight to Oslo. Thus, they had to drive all the way by car, and arrived almost one hour into the meal. Thankfully, the other chefs had prepared the mise en place, and Jakob and his partner was able to quickly put it all together once they turned up. On top of that it was a killer dish!

Chefs in deep concentration!
Chefs in deep concentration!
Squid in thin strips, almost like tagliatelle, with a black garlic cream, beer and fennel. One of my favorites as well! By Jakob Holmström of restaurant Gastrologik in Stockholm
Squid in thin strips, almost like tagliatelle, with a black garlic cream, beer and fennel. One of my favorites as well! By Jakob Holmström of restaurant Gastrologik in Stockholm
2014 Egon Müller, Scharzhof. Boom! A delicious Mosel Riesling. Fresh, citrusy with a nice sweetness.
2014 Egon Müller, Scharzhof. Boom! A delicious Mosel Riesling. Fresh, citrusy with a nice sweetness.
"And now a two star dish," Esben of Maaemo said jokingly when he served his cod with a soup of preserved asparagus and fish roe
“And now a two star dish,” Esben of Maaemo said jokingly when he served his cod with a soup of preserved asparagus and fish roe
Domaine de la Tournelle, Terre de Gryphées. A lovely Jura, with just the right sweetness to match the dish.
Domaine de la Tournelle, Terre de Gryphées. A lovely Jura, with just the right sweetness to match the dish.
Late in the evening the chefs got to enjoy some of the drinks too. Esben was photo bombing my pictures, so I gave him the attention he wanted with this photo.
Late in the evening the chefs got to enjoy some of the drinks too. Esben was photo bombing my pictures, so I gave him the attention he wanted with this photo.
Jersualem artichoke & truffle. Wow, this dish was incredible! Crunchy, fried Jerusalem artichoke underneath, a spuma on Jerusalem artichoke and truffles all over. I definately have to visit Måns Backlund and his restaurant Bekk when I am in Gothenburg
Jersualem artichoke & truffle. Wow, this dish was incredible! Crunchy, fried Jerusalem artichoke underneath, a spuma on Jerusalem artichoke and truffles all over. I definately have to visit Måns Backlund and his restaurant Bekk when I am in Gothenburg
Cellar La Vinyeta 2009 “Sereno” Solera, Costa Brava. A sweet wine. Not my cup of tea. but it matched the dish quite well!
Cellar La Vinyeta 2009 “Sereno” Solera, Costa Brava. A sweet wine. Not my cup of tea. but it matched the dish quite well!
Måns Backlund of the new restaurant Bekk in Gothenburg. What a man! What a mustache! What a meal!
Måns Backlund of the new restaurant Bekk in Gothenburg. What a man! What a mustache! What a meal!
Too many cooks spoil the broth! Not these pros, though.
Too many cooks spoil the broth! Not these pros, though.
Pork cheeks cooked to perfection. Chef Haatuft explained that they used something heavy to press the meat down in the pan when they fried it, to make sure the heat was distributed evenly
Pork cheeks cooked to perfection. Chef Haatuft explained that they used something heavy to press the meat down in the pan when they fried it, to make sure the heat was distributed evenly
Pork cheeks with fried oyster, apple, mustard leaves and a sweet caramelized mustard sauce. By Christopher Haatuft of restaurant Lysverket in Bergen. A great dish that just left us wanting more!
Pork cheeks with fried oyster, apple, mustard leaves and a sweet caramelized mustard sauce. By Christopher Haatuft of restaurant Lysverket in Bergen. A great dish that just left us wanting more!
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien, Bière de Garde, 2013. A most wonderful sour ale, at an impressive 11%!
Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien, Bière de Garde, 2013. A most wonderful sour ale, at an impressive 11%!
Christopher Haatuft of Lysverket sneaking a taste of some food
Christopher Haatuft of Lysverket sneaking a taste of some food
Next up; from the boss himself, Mikael Svensson of restaurant Kontrast
Next up; from the boss himself, Mikael Svensson of restaurant Kontrast
Domaine Jean Grivot, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, 2013. A light red wine, but with a surprisingly strong flavor of red fruits!
Domaine Jean Grivot, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, 2013. A light red wine, but with a surprisingly strong flavor of red fruits!
Smoked and grilled organic lamb from Svartskog gård with red beets from Korsvold gård in several varieties
Smoked and grilled organic lamb from Svartskog gård with red beets from Korsvold gård in several varieties
Ask! Make sure to go there when you are in Helsinki
Ask! Make sure to go there when you are in Helsinki
The cheese serving. A mock cheesecake made from Edelfrue cheese, with a lid of strawberry gel and crispy sourdough flakes. There was some disagreement at our table, but I really loved this dish from Mikael Svensson
The cheese serving. A mock cheesecake made from Edelfrue cheese, with a lid of strawberry gel and crispy sourdough flakes. There was some disagreement at our table, but I really loved this dish from Mikael Svensson
Marco Porello, Birbet. A lightly sparkling sweet wine, but with a nice acidic structure. Strawberry flavor.
Marco Porello, Birbet. A lightly sparkling sweet wine, but with a nice acidic structure. Strawberry flavor.
Anni caught on camera by Marius Haneborg
Anni caught on camera by Marius Haneborg
Koji ice cream with blueberry and spruce shots. Also by Esben Holmboe-Bang of restaurant Maaemo in Oslo. Koji is a fungus normally used to ferment stuff like soy beans, rice and grains. Often used in alcohol production
Koji ice cream with blueberry and spruce shots. Also by Esben Holmboe-Bang of restaurant Maaemo in Oslo. Koji is a fungus normally used to ferment stuff like soy beans, rice and grains. Often used in alcohol production
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling, Clos Windsbuhl, Vendange Tardive, Alsace, France 2004. Wow! Elegant sweetness, fresh acidity and a long finish. Just the way I like my sweet wines.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Riesling, Clos Windsbuhl, Vendange Tardive, Alsace, France 2004. Wow! Elegant sweetness, fresh acidity and a long finish. Just the way I like my sweet wines.
Corn & caramel. A great petit four to end the meal! Crunchy, soft, warm and cold. True contrasts
Corn & caramel. A great petit four to end the meal! Crunchy, soft, warm and cold. True contrasts
Post dinner photo shoot with the full chef lineup
Post dinner photo shoot with the full chef lineup

Were you at this event? How was your experience? Would you like to see more events like these in Oslo? Please leave a comment below.

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