THE CHEF’S VIEW
KRISTIAN BAUMANN OF 108, COPENHAGEN
Foraging is about understanding what nature has to offer – from the first greens of spring to the last berries or mushrooms of autumn. It connects you to the landscape and, on a personal level, it helps me become more open-minded in the way I cook.
It is so suited to Scandinavia because historically our harsh climate forced our ancestors into new ways of finding and preserving flavours.
Foraging is one of the pillars of our restaurant, 108. It offers flavours we couldn’t have created ourselves. It is a great way of showing our chefs, ourselves, and our diners, the amazing breadth of options nature puts forward and how you can use it as an inspiration for cooking – not only in a restaurant, but also at home.
Take, for instance, the rose hip berry, which grows everywhere in the Danish summer. It’s usually ignored for being a weed, but actually it has versatility in the kitchen. At our restaurant, we serve the flowers, either dried or preserved in n vinegar, the he seeds we toast and turn into a nutty sesameflavoured oil, the actual berry we purée and, in the past, we’vew used it in oneon of our desserts.dessert We usedu it in a dessert with sea buckthorn,buckth anotherano wild fruitfru that has becomebe popularpo again.ag I’mI’ often inspiredinsp by the ingredientsingre I find growinggr together organically. When I visit my parents, I buy potatoes at a farm close to their house – there you might also find camomile, wild sorrel, and thyme growing all around the potato crop. I try to pick some of each and then, later that night, I’ll cook the potatoes with the herbs.
You can forage all around you – not just in rural areas – but also along beaches, through forests, or even in cities.
When you forage be open-minded, be e curious, but also do your research.
There is now a great amount of information out there on wild plants and foraging.
You don’t have to make the same mistakes pioneering foragers and chefs did 15 years ago. So be clever and use the knowledge banks out there, like the Vild Mad (wild food in Danish) app (vildmad.dk/en). It’s easy to read up and see what’swh around you,yo and what differentdiff plantspla it can be used for – it could change not only the way you cook, but also the way you understand nature.
Kristian Baumann is a Korean-born Dane, the head chef and coowner of Restaurant 108 in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn district. He spent his early career at restaurant Noma, later helping to set up Relæ, before becoming head chef of 1.th. In July 2016 he opened Restaurant 108 with Noma’s René Redzepi. The restaurant was awarded one Michelin star in February 2017.