Esben Holmboe Bang
Raw nature – the bounty of mother earth
Like no other chef, Esben Holmboe Bang represents the New Nordic cuisine generation. At his restaurant Maaemo (an old Norwegian word for Mother Earth) the young chef embodies a concept based on seasonal produce – produce that the cold, hard land does not give up without a fight. For Norway is not exactly a land of plenty. Yes, the waters are filled with fish, but the weather can make them difficult to land, while gathering ingredients from the precipitous mountain landscape can be equally fraught with danger. It’s a struggle that creates respect for the ingredients. At Maaemo, these ingredients are transformed into pioneering menus that give full expression Homboe’s cooking style. It’s a style that reflects not just the rugged and pure terrain from which these raw ingredients come, but the harsh climate that creates them and the entire culture of the high Scandinavian countries. Last year, six years after opening, Maaemo won its third Michelin star (just as Denmark’s Geranium achieved the same distinction). Never before has Scandinavia been so honoured with the ‘trois etoiles’. It’s a sign that Michelin recognises the special quality that chefs like Holmboe have brought to New Nordic cuisine – profound depth of taste.