I did not plan to write a post in celebration of my fourth year. The five year anniversary feels like a more important milestone. However, with the massive changes that have occurred in my life since the fall of 2018, I think it’s important to share some of the highlights. These are changes that will affect a lot of what is happening on this blog in the time ahead. In order for you to understand, I need to properly introduce you to my girlfriend – Kaitlin Orr.
Meeting Kaitlin Orr
On October 19th, 2018, I met Kaitlin Orr. Restaurant Maaemo and Visit Oslo were hosting a group of Tastehunters from the World’s 50 Best organization in town and asked me to be a local food guide for the group. By chance, someone had tipped off Kaitlin about a certain Nordic foodie that could have some recommendations for her Nordic travels, so we had already chatted a bit in advance. Thus, when we met at Maaemo, we had already established a connection. Naturally, we also ended up sitting next to each other during the meal.
Admittedly, I thought she was very cute and I might have taken a couple of extra photos of her. Kaitlin must have noticed this, because two days later – after the Oslo tour officially ended she suggested that I should just start traveling with her and be her full-time photographer. I wasn’t going to let that opportunity slide, so I took her word for it. She told me she was going to Stockholm after Oslo and that she had a reservation at Frantzén. I really wanted to go back to that restaurant, which recently had received their third star. Luckily we managed to upgrade her party of one to two, and the same night I got my flight ticket.
Frantzén was our first unofficial date. Kaitlin just didn’t know we were dating yet. I really wanted to capture the meal on video, and Kaitlin played her part as if it was the most natural thing in the world for her. We also dined at the two-starred Oaxen and spent the night on board their beautiful boat hotel «Prince van Orangiën.» In separate cabins, mind you. I honestly had no clue if Kaitlin liked me as much as I liked her. First of all, I was nine years older than her and, secondly, we had just met. We were both getting over fairly recent breakups. I was simply trying to be a perfect gentleman but, of course, I hoped our feelings were mutual.
The more Kaitlin and I talked together and the more natural wine we drank, the more we realized how similar we were. Same preferences, same taste in food and wine, a similar style of music, and a shared love of traveling. One night, sitting at restaurant Ekstedt, after one too many bottles of wine, Kaitlin asked me to take an online personality test. For fun, she promised, while also revealing that she had been a psychology major in college. I took the test, to the best of my abilities, and thought to myself that being slightly tipsy might actually increase the likelihood of answering intuitively. The results were ready immediately. I read out loud the personality type I had been assigned: ENFJ. «I knew it. Same as me. We’re the same person,» Kaitlin said.
Initially, I had a three-day return ticket to Oslo, while Kaitlin was continuing her travels in Sweden – next stop Skåne. «Why don’t you come with me to Daniel Berlin?» she asked on my last day. I just laughed at her pathetic proposal. What did she think, I would just follow her around like a lapdog? Then I booked my flight to Malmö. This kept happening. In the end, I missed four return flights just so I could stay with Kaitlin one day longer. We explored Malmö city and even spent a night at a castle together. And we drank more natural wine than recommended.
It would go almost one month after our Sweden adventures before we would meet again. Kaitlin was in Bangkok to eat at Gaggan and I was in Hong Kong for a week. She happened to have a three-hour layover in Hong Kong on her return to Los Angeles while I was still in town. This seemed like a sign, so I suggested she could prolong her layover. Kaitlin checked the price and we both thought it was a very silly idea. So she moved her ticket nine hours, delaying her return for Thanksgiving with the family, just so we could hang out for twelve hours. An additional two weeks would pass before we saw each other again. This time, it was a planned trip together to Noma in Copenhagen. If you follow @carnivorr and @andershusa on Instagram, you should know that we have been almost inseparable ever since. Party of one is nice, but we prefer party of two.
We Are Joining Forces
Regular readers may have noticed that there have been substantially fewer blog posts in 2019 compared to previous years. I’m not here to apologize for that, there has simply been a shift in focus to more YouTube and Instagram content. We have also been extremely busy with travels. Obviously, we have every intention to turn these trips into videos and online guides to help you find the best restaurants when you go out to eat – in the Nordic as well as globally.
However, it has been challenging to find the right balance between work, travels and time off. We’re managing a lot of channels each, which feels inefficient. That’s why, going forward, Kaitlin and I will join forces and focus our attention on just one blog and one YouTube channel. The solution, thus far, will be to use my channels since they are the most developed. We’ll still keep each of our individual Instagram accounts, of course. Some blog posts will be written by me, some by Kaitlin, and others again will be our collaborative work.
World’s 50 Best TasteHunter
In May, I joined the ranks of the World’s 50 Best (W50B) TasteHunters along with Kaitlin. It seemed like the natural next step. I was already Kaitlin’s +1 at the Asia’s 50 Best events in Macau. Additionally, W50B was looking for a new person to represent the Nordics. As TasteHunters, we are digital ambassadors for the brand. That’s it. We don’t vote – we simply share our experiences from all the great restaurants we visit around the world and we attend the W50B ceremonies. As a bonus, we get to meet all our favorite chefs and fellow industry people at these events, all while exploring new parts of the world. I am very grateful to be a part of this wonderful food family and proud to represent the Nordic region for the brand. Kaitlin represents the US West Coast.
360 Eat Guide – Chairman of Norway
Last fall, I also announced my new role as Chairman in Norway for the brand new 360 Eat Guide. I’ve chosen the Norwegian jury for this online restaurant guide that is the first in the world to rank restaurants both on gastronomy and sustainability. Combined, the Nordic jury members have tested hundreds of restaurants across Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. The results will be revealed at a ceremony in Stockholm on the 30th of September. We will be present, of course. Stay tuned!
Looking For a New Agent / Agency
My agency in Norway for the last two years has been United Screens. They’ve been in charge of my YouTube account, turned it into an important part of my business, and together we have grown the channel to over 20.000 subscribers. Unfortunately, United Screens decided to shut down operations in Norway. That means I’m currently looking for a new agent or agency to represent my brand in the Nordic countries. Preferably someone that understands the food industry, as well as experience with multiple channels: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, blog, etc.
I don’t need someone to run my accounts or create content or advertisements for me, but I do need someone with contacts in media agencies who can pitch my ideas to potential brand partners. I am more interested in an agent that can work closely with me and learn what I need, than a big network with hundreds and thousands of profiles in their portfolio. If they can work globally to also represent what Kaitlin and I are doing on our travels abroad, that is a bonus, but not a requirement. Do you know anyone that you think will be a good fit for me? Leave your suggestion in a comment below or have them send me a message.