Mads Cortsen is a young Danish chef, who competed in the cooking show Masterchef on Danish television in 2015, where he came in second after the equally talented Anders Halskov-Jensen. With his newly-won silver medal, Cortsen got the opportunity to work with famous Danish chefs at some top restaurants in Aarhus. Apparently, he must have picked up a trick or two, because he quickly launched his own private dining business – Cortsen Dining. What could be more luxurious than having a chef at your disposal for a full evening at home?
A Foodie Gathering in North Zealand
While researching my trip to North Zealand, I got a request from Mads. In my inbox was an invitation to try out his new project. He had six seats that he needed me to fill, and he wanted my feedback on the food. Challenge accepted! I invited three other food writers from Copenhagen that I’ve come to know through social media. First and foremost, my good friend Rasmus Palsgård, aka Feinschmeckeren, who brought along his better half. Furthermore, Peter Atzen, aka CopenhagenFoodie, and Laura Berg, aka The Copenhagen Tales, both of which I met for the very first time in real life at this event. Together with Hedda Over Heels, we were a six-strong team of foodies. There’s nothing like a gathering of like-minded people for an evening of good food and drinks.
Cortsen Dining at Hemmingstrup Farm
Mads’ latest project is a concept restaurant at Hemmingstrup farm in North Zealand. In this remote location, Cortsen and a small team of chefs will cook up an incredible private dinner for a small group of guests. Sommelier Thomas Lysgaard doubles as a showman. He makes the evening all the more memorable, not only with his ridiculously extravagant wine pairings, but also musical acts and even poems.
We enjoyed snacks on the terrace outside, while the sun was still up. Oysters, shrimp croquettes, and yuzu-infused Japanese nashi pears – all paired with a 2002 Palmes d’Or Champagne from Nicolas Feuillette. Moving inside, the meal continued with memorable bites like crispy chicken skin with bitter citrus & caviar, and baked brill with more caviar and a Champagne & browned butter sauce. The latter was undoubtedly the highlight of the meal on my part – I’m truly a sucker for browned butter. Wine pairings continued from Bollinger Champagne to excellent bottles from Benjamin Leroux – with the 2015 Volnay, 1er Cru, Mitans being an absolute highlight.
At times, it seemed like Mads was hiding a bit behind a heavy use of caviar to defend the price of his Signature Prestige Menu, when he really didn’t have to. Caviar is good, of course, but it doesn’t necessarily make a dish better. Worse, however, was the use of Australian winter truffle which had lost most of its potency. Yet, other plates were more focused on the presentation and technical skills than the flavor. Especially the marbled tuna, the smoked game, and the final two desserts. Although, when you take Cortsen’s age and experience into consideration, you realize that this young, passionate chef delivered an impressive meal at an extraordinarily high level. We literally gave him a round of applause. Denmark, and the world, has definitely not seen the last of this guy. Watch out!
Signature Prestige Menu: DKK 2100 per person
Lysgaards Prestige wine menu: DKK 1900 per person
What’s your experience with private dinners and home dining? Please share in a comment below.
This was an invitation from Mads Cortsen to try out and give feedback on his new concept.