Maaemo is 7 Years A Celebration With the Most Incredible Line-Up of Chefs

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Maaemo is 7 years today. Congratulations! On December 15th 2010, the Danish chef Esben Holmboe Bang together with the Finnish sommelier Pontus Dahlstrøm opened the doors to a restaurant bearing the Finnish name Maaemo – meaning Mother Earth – but with the intention of taking their guests on a culinary ride through the Norwegian food landscape. Hand-dived scallops, langoustines the size of a lobster, wild herbs and flowers, and all the wonderful flavors of our rich agricultural heritage. At an odd location – towering like a glass and steel fortress above the railroad tracks leading into Oslo Central station, and with the tall buildings of Barcode looming as a backdrop – Maaemo was something completely new. The first purely New Nordic fine dining restaurant at this level in Oslo, with a strong philosophy of using only local, either organic, biodynamic, or wild-growing produce.

Maaemo by Esben-Holmboe Bang
Maaemo by Esben-Holmboe Bang

From day one, with a few notable exceptions, Maaemo got standing ovations and top scores from food critics and writers. In 2012, the prestigious French Michelin Guide decided to award them two stars directly – which was unheard of in the Nordics at that point (they later repeated that feat for Fäviken Magasinet in 2016). Four years later, in February 2016, Esben Holmboe Bang was the first ever Nordic chef to receive three Michelin-stars. He shared that honor with Rasmus Kofoed of restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen.

My first visit to Maaemo was in January 2013. Some of the signature dishes were already on the menu, like the langoustine with spruce, the oyster emulsion with mussel and dill sauce, and the remarkable brown-butter ice cream. I revisited in March 2015 and documented the meal, again in February 2016, August 2016, January 2017, June 2017, as well as in October and twice in November this year. The celebration dinner below was one of them, and the other I haven’t had time to write about yet. For every meal at Maaemo, I get more and more impressed, and it makes me proud of Oslo and Norway.

Co-founder and owner Esben Holmboe-Bang
Co-founder and owner Esben Holmboe-Bang

A Celebration With the Most Incredible Line-Up of Chefs

In November this year, Maaemo celebrated its 7th anniversary a month or so ahead of the actual date. Esben had invited some of his best chef friends, mainly from Scandinavia, but with a few exceptions. The line-up is perhaps the most incredible I have ever seen. Definitely on par with Geranium’s 5th Anniversary. From Mexico city came Jorge Vallejo of restaurant Quintonil (ranked World’s 22nd Best Restaurant), from New York came Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius of restaurant Aska (two Michelin-stars ⭐⭐), and from Stockholm came Björn Frantzén of restaurant Frantzén (two Michelin-stars before they relocated ⭐⭐ – currently awaiting the next launch in 2018). Danes represented the majority, with Bo Bech of restaurant Geist (#BoBech), Nicolai Nørregaard of restaurant Kadeau (one Michelin-star ⭐), Rasmus Kofoed of restaurant Geranium (three Michelin-stars ⭐⭐⭐ & ranked World’s 19th Best Restaurant), Christian Puglisi of restaurant Relæ (one Michelin-star ⭐ & ranked World’s 39th Best Restaurant), and Paul Cunningham from Henne Kirkeby Kro (two Michelin-stars ⭐⭐). Wow! Since this was a once-in-a-lifetime meal, I won’t comment further, and instead, let the pictures speak for themselves.

Read also my table companion Rasmus Palsgård’s tale from this magical evening (article in Danish).

Kohlrabi with linden flowers by Fredrik Berselius
Kohlrabi with linden flowers by Fredrik Berselius
Chef Björn Frantzén of restaurant Frantzén
Chef Björn Frantzén of restaurant Frantzén
Råraka with vendace roe by Björn Frantzén
Råraka with vendace roe by Björn Frantzén
"Lompe" with fermented trout and horseradish by Esben Holmboe Bang
“Lompe” with fermented trout and horseradish by Esben Holmboe Bang
Raw langoustine with yuzu and hibiscus
Raw langoustine with yuzu and hibiscus
Scallop, pine, mussel, and hemp by Nicolai Nørregaard
Scallop, pine, mussel, and hemp by Nicolai Nørregaard
Grilled king crab "hot sauce," sea urchin, blood lime, and chrysanthemum
Grilled king crab “hot sauce,” sea urchin, blood lime, and chrysanthemum
Kuma beer from Frantzén in Stockholm
Kuma beer from Frantzén in Stockholm

Maaemo 7th Year Anniversary

Crab toast by Paul Cunningham
Crab toast by Paul Cunningham
Chef Rasmus Kofoed from restaurant Geranium
Chef Rasmus Kofoed from restaurant Geranium
Carrot cooked in butter for hours upon hours
Carrot cooked in butter for hours upon hours
Purple carrot roll, with foamy hollandaise and oxalis by Christian Puglisi
Purple carrot roll, with foamy hollandaise and oxalis by Christian Puglisi
Lamb with molé by Jorge Vallejo
Lamb with molé by Jorge Vallejo
Fermented blueberries with caramelized goats milk and fragrant rhubarb root by Esben Holmboe Bang
Fermented blueberries with caramelised goats milk and fragrant rhubarb root by Esben Holmboe Bang
Warm Norwegian waffles á la Maaemo, made with beef fat and koji grains, served with brown cheese spread, preserved berries, and whipped sour cream
Warm Norwegian waffles á la Maaemo, made with beef fat and koji grains, served with brown cheese spread, preserved berries, and whipped sour cream
Black coffee by Tim Wendelboe
Black coffee by Tim Wendelboe
Disclaimer

This was a sponsored press event by Maaemo. The restaurant had no influence on the content of this article, there is no form of cooperation between us, I was not obliged to publish anything, and I received no monetary payment.

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