Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express Introduces Culinary Ambassadors

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express Introduces Culinary Ambassadors - Photo: Yann Bougaran / Hurtigruten Norway (March 2022)Ahead of next year’s 130th anniversary, Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express is upping its game even more. Not just considered the most beautiful voyage in the world, it will also be a culinary experience of the senses.

Collaborating with local suppliers is a vital part of the company’s food concept, Norway’s Coastal Kitchen, and they have partnered with two extraordinary chefs with close links to the beautiful Norwegian coast, to elevate the onboard gastronomy offerings.

The two award-winning chefs, Astrid Regine Nässlander and Halvar Ellingsen, not only share the same values as Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express, they both also hail from Northern Norway – where they live and work – which is where Hurtigruten was established back in 1893. They both rely on local suppliers and organic ingredients to create exceptional gastronomic experiences, a perfect fit for the onboard Coastal Kitchen concept.

“We always look for ways to connect with the local food traditions and the food culture along the Norwegian coast. Astrid and Halvar share our food philosophy, and both have the same unique connection with Northern Norway that Hurtigruten has. With them on board, we can use their deep local knowledge to develop and enhance our menus even more and inspire the next generation of Norway’s Coastal Kitchen chefs,” said Hedda Felin, CEO of Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express.

Local chefs from the Norwegian coast

Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express is proud to support fisheries, farms, butchers, and other small businesses along the Norwegian coast, as it has done for well over a century. The fresh farm-and-fjord-to-table flavors are an essential part of the journey, where guests will feel like a true traveler, not a tourist.

Astrid and Halvar will continue this culinary tradition and develop locally inspired, sustainably sourced, seasonal dishes served on board all seven ships in the fleet. They will train and inspire kitchen staff, and through a dedicated trainee program foster a new wave of talented Hurtigruten chefs.

Local produce and know-how

“What drives me is the urge to show people what we have around us, and that it’s possible to source food differently than just going to the supermarket. It’s old-fashioned common sense to get milk from a dairy farmer or meat from a moose hunter,” said Astrid Nässlander.

Astrid lives on the small island of Steigen opposite Lofoten in Northern Norway. This is the area where the 30-year-old award-winning freelance chef and small-scale sustainable meat producer sources all the ingredients she needs or wants.

“Hurtigruten and I share the same food philosophy. The Coastal Express is in many ways the true essence of Norway, and the food served on board represents the places where the ships sail,” she continues.

Highlighting local ingredients

Halvar Ellingsen, a former member of Norway’s national cooking team, is now Head Chef at the famous restaurant Kvitnes in Vesterålen. After ten years of living and cooking in Norway’s capital Oslo, Halvar decided to move back home to his family’s farm “to get in touch with the ingredients again”.

“I wanted to prove what short-travelled, sustainable food really is in practice,” said Ellingsen.

Kvitnes is virtually self-sufficient in vegetables, meat, herbs, and berries, sourcing almost all its ingredients from the nearby surroundings.

“As a young boy, I would hear the whistle of The Norwegian Coastal Express ships every day. It was a natural part of growing up on the coast. Even now, we have goods delivered to our restaurant from the ships every week,” Ellingsen said.

“I’m really looking forward to giving guests on the Norwegian Coastal Express food which both tastes great and highlights the ingredients of the areas they travel to.”

Astrid Nässlander’s and Halvar Ellingsen’s summer season menus will be available on board the Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express fleet in April and will change with the different seasons. Our Culinary Ambassadors will develop six dishes per season for the fine dining restaurant, one menu per year in the main restaurant, and two dishes for the bistro. They will also participate in workshops with the kitchen staff. In addition, Nässlander will deliver products to the ships, among them her famous moose sausages.

(Hurtigruten Norway)


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