Eleven ways to drink green
“In the modern world, all the stuff we are throwing out has value”
by Diana Vilibert 58
by Anthony Carew
Maaemo - 100% Organic
What Kids Say About Hate
“We’re going to do this without compromising”
by Lisa Carver 18
by Greg Henry 74
Photos by Nikolai Kaasa
by Michael Battan 82
Chad Vangaalen â€œIn the modern world, all the stuff we are throwing out has valueâ€? Sub Pop recording artist Chad VanGaalen is a tall Canadian, making quietly-odd music. The self-styled songsmith has a fondness for instrument building and antique tape-recorders, and uses them to fashion down-home, mismatched patchworks stitching together both brittle ballads and rattling rocksongs. On the back porch of his Calgary home, VanGaalen recounted his evolution from music-free teen to album number three, Soft Airplane.
“I don’t necessarily strive to keep it lo-fi, but I like to keep that human element in there.” so, you always wanted to keep that unpolished, mistake-friendly spirit alive? I think so. I don’t necessarily strive to keep it lo-fi, or a
part of any sort of genre, but I like to keep that human element in there. The bass pedal squeaking, fingers sliding on guitar strings, bad textures: those things don’t bother me. People try and pin me down with this lo-fi aesthetic, yet really I’m honestly trying to go for the highest fi recording I can; it’s just that I don’t believe things need over-polishing. When you get down to it, Soft Airplane is a pretty hi-fi recording. your songs can be quite varied in style. are there threads that stitch the songs on soft airplane together? I think, with this
record, there’s more of a common thread running through it, sonically and thematically. It’s largely a singular meditation on death; my most album-like record. But there’s more going on than that. There’s certain colours, a lot of vibraphone that links the record together tonally. have you forever worked in isolation? Yep. That’s the reason why I feel in love with music, originally, through multi-tracking. After working for a while on ghetto blasters, my friend lent me his four-track for a couple of weeks. I didn’t know what that was, at the time, I was only 14, but after I’d used one, I knew I had to get my own. Really, before I could even perform music, I was composing and recording. I didn’t even really want to perform, that came much afterwards. And, even then, I had a bit of a bout with stage fright. when did you first start making sound? I was kind of a late-bloomer.
I was, initially, just a casual listener; I didn’t grow up with a lot of music in my home. It was only when, as a teenager, I was introduced to bands that I could relate to, like Shellac and Sonic Youth, that I even thought about making music. Before that, for me, music had always seemed like this really inaccessible thing. When you hear a Smashing Pumpkins album, or any high, glossy, overproduced record, it seems impossible to imagine yourself doing that. But with a Sebadoh record, that’s more ragged, unpolished, it seems so accessible. You hear it and think: I think I could do that. So, soon after that, I taught myself how to play guitar, and I started recording on two ghetto blasters, ping-ponging back and forth, multi-tracking that way.
how did you get over that? For a period, I spent a lot of time busking,
and I did it to get over my stage fright, and to develop my songs. Those were, to this day, my favorite musical experiences. It allowed me to talk to people about my music, and get a real honest opinion about it. People will tell you to ‘fuck off’ to your face, so it’s a pretty real thing to do.
was that lo-fi aesthetic something you always wanted your own music to embody? The thing that I do like about those recordings is
that they weren’t trying to hide. They’re saying: we were in the studio, playing these songs, recording them, this is a real thing. Keeping in mistakes, for me, is something that needs to be done, to be able to perpetuate that idea of kids listening to it and then being motivated to make that themselves.
Drawing by Chad
how did you start building your own instruments? Just a love
How did you find working with “women” on their record, seceding some of the control you’d had when working in isolation?
of sound. Pretty early on, I realized that anything makes sound, and there’s a huge history of people building their own instruments. In the modern world, all the stuff we’re throwing out has value. There’re all of these building materials that’re at our fingertips, for free. I was at college at the time, so I’d sift through the waste-bins, find scrap wood and and metal, and randomly put things together. A lot of musical instruments have pretty simple form, so I wanted to find the roots of those sounds, and try and put it together, myself, from the beginning. Then, follow that through to teaching yourself how to play it, how to use it, and then recording a composition using that instrument. It was such a great lesson in sound, for me.
I’ve been approached in the past about recording people’s records, and turned them down, because it was the wrong situation. But I was already really good friends with Matt and Pat Flegel (Women founders), and they wanted me to be as involved in it as possible. That sort of invitation was pretty persuasive. Having said that, giving yourself that much freedom can backfire as much as it can succeed; it can swing both ways. So we had as many frustrations as we had successes. what kind of frustrations? With the compositions. We were battling
over sounds a lot. Pat, the singer and guitar-player, we would battle a lot over textures: I was always pushing for a more saturated, richer sound, whereas he wanted a more lo-fi, fuzzed-out sound. I think he did get his way, in the end. Recording is intimate for me, and I do get really involved, and obsessed, with it. So, we had a lot of battles, but I think it pushed us both into accepting a broader spectrum of sound. The record turned out incredibly well for just a bunch of hosers in a basement in Calgary.
was it just about sound, or was there something about the ideology of taking society’s refuse and making art from it that appealed to you? A little bit of both. I was incredibly influenced
by John Cage’s Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano. That got me into thinking about modern music and composition, and, naturally, the evolution of instruments. You can already see changing so dramatically, right now, with programs and soft-synthesizers that allow you to customize your instruments incredibly. In the midst of this digital revolution, everyone’s seemingly forgotten that once the actual instruments out there disappear, you’re not really left with much. Drawing by Chad
Sadie is 9 and considers herself an awesome person.
Neighbour Girl is 8 and considers herself a good person.
Eva is 10 and considers herself a Link (from The Legend of Zelda) kind of person.
Wolf is 17 and considers himself a nature person.
Max is 17 and considers himself a caring person, who expresses it by harshing on people.
Will is 14 and says, “I don’t consider myself.”
Dora is 12 and (inaccurately) considers herself a mediocre person.
who do you hate? Sadie: People. Neighbour Girl: School. Eva: Connor. Who’s that? An old friend. Now he’s my enemy. How did he become your enemy? He tried to kiss me. Now I hate him. How do you express your hate? I won’t speak to him. I look at him, and I walk away. He sounds like a beast. He is. Where do you feel hate, like where in your body? I feel it all over me. Like ants crawling? It feels like angry. Neighbour Girl: It feels like stupid. Sadie: I don’t feel hate. I think hate. Wolf: I feel hate in my heart sometimes. It feels tense and sick. Scary. Upsetting. Is there a time you feel hate more? Neighbour Girl: In nightmares. Sadie: At math time. Eva: When I see Connor.
Wolf: When someone who used to be in our family is drunk or passed out, which is usually at 3 AM. Neighbour Girl: That’s the death time, 3 AM. That’s when ghosts come out. Wolf and I learned that from Paranormal State. Max: Not so much hate, but I feel more irritable every time the sun is going down and the moon is coming up. The darkening. Max: Yeah. Especially when it’s a new moon. Will: When I wake up. Any morning I have to wake up and go to school. Dora: I don’t hate anybody or anything at any time. You’ve never felt like kicking somebody or something’s face in? Sometimes maybe just for a brief moment, but it’s not hate – just thinking someone’s being an idiot. Do you think you love tepidly, since you hate tepidly? No. I would say I feel love more strongly, because since I don’t waste time on hate, there’s more room for it. Max: Now that I’ve turned 17, it seems like it’s most people I hate. It’s not rational; everything just pisses me off. When you were 16, did you hate less? Yeah. It’s not hate so much as I’m grouchy. It was really shortly after my birthday I started being kind of bitchy. I keep quiet about it. If I really, really hate you, I’ll say nothing to you. Are you deceptive? Manipulative. No. I feel like there’s… um…
Do you feel like there’s things in your way for your real life to begin? Yeah. Exactly that. That’s what I felt like at your age. Full of unarticulated hate and being held back. Where do you feel hate? In my chest area. It’s a sinking feeling. Because I don’t want to feel hateful. Because I know that I don’t actually feel that way, but it’s just that I’m 17, and I’m disappointed that I can’t control it, because it’s totally unnecessary to feel like that – I didn’t feel like that before. There’s better things to do, that I wish I was doing instead of hating. Will: I hate Kony. A lot of what he’s done, he didn’t do it himself. He’s like Charles Manson, telling people to do things for him. That’s even worse. I like Stop Kony pages on Facebook. That’s the new hate. Like hate pages. Also, I started a group at school to raise money to send to the anti-Kony people. Where do you feel hate? In my rage receptors. Kony better watch out for you. It just pissed me off so much when I first heard about Kony, and when I heard more, my rage receptors were all:
e l e v e n d r i n k
w a y s
g r e e n
Staying health-conscious — and even green — doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to drinking. From the difference between organic and biodynamic wine, to açai alcohol and green gin, rum, and more, find out what you need to know about sipping sustainably.
P o u r
O r g a n i c
Don’t be swayed by a label that says a wine is made with natural ingredients it doesn’t mean your choice is organic. Wine can get the USDA’s organic label if it falls under one of two classifications: 100 % Organic Wine, which means its made of 100% organic certified grapes, with no sulfites, nitrates, or other non organic ingredients added. Or Organic, made with Organic Grapes, Grapes (which means 95% of the wine has to come from organic grapes, with no added sulfites).
Think Inside the Box
It may remind you of your college days, but boxed wine has come a long way, baby. Check out organic options like Yellow+Blue Wine, their motto, "Drink Well. Do Good.” is certainly easy to get behind. Y+B, made with 100% organic hand-picked grapes and packaged in eco-friendly Tetra Pak packaging, is the is the only carbon-neutral wine importer importer in the U.S.
A d d O r g a n i c F l a v o r
Square One Vodka is USDA-certified organic made from organically grown American rye from North Dakota and distilled using water from the Teton Mountains, plus, it’s infused with a bold blend of 8 organic botanicals: Pear, rose, chamomile, lemon verbena lavender, coriander and citrus peel.
Discover Açai Alcohol
Antioxidant rich, VeeV is the world’s first açai spirit, made from wildly harvested Brazilian açai berries and organic winter wheat grain. VeeV also donates $1 for every bottle sold to the Sambazon’s Sustainable Açai Project. And though it’s not USDA-certified organic, VeeV is certified carbon neutral by Climate Climate Clean LLC, making them the first U.S. alcohol company to completely offset the carbon footprint of their business activities.
R e c y c l e t h e B o t t l e S
W h a t A l c o h o l
M a k e s O r g a n i c ?
To be USDA-certified as an organic alcohol, the spirit must be made of ingredients grown on certified organic farms and processed in a certified organic distillery with no or fertilizers on the grains, and no nitrogen or other other chemicals in the distilling process.
M a k e Y o u r D i r t y M a r t i n i a L i t t l e C l e a n e r
Add your two olives to Juniper Green Gin, the world’s first organic dry gin. Produced at a London distillery using organic grains and organic botanicals, Juniper Green Gin is USDA-certified organic in America, and certified organic by the British Soil Association in the UK. There is also another option: Bluecoat gin uses uses organic juniper berries, with no additives and all natural, organic botanicals.
An aluminum screwtop requires less materials and are recyclable. So consider consider screwtop over corked wine.
D r i n k
Not only is Vodka 14 USDA-certified organic, it’s made from Rocky Mountain spring water and organic grain, but the the bottle is entirely recyclable, too. The bottle’s design is baked on, not make make from plastic, and in addition to a recyclable cork, even Vodka 14’s safety seal is made from PETG, an environmentally sound and recyclable plastic.
B i o d y n a m i c
Biodynamic farming views farms and vineyards as self-sustaining ecosystems, ecosystems, and in addition to being USDA-certified organic, biodynamic vineyards can’t use synthetic pesticides pesticides or fertilizers, and implement sustainable farming practices like energy- and water-saving techniques.
Order a Round of Rum
Papagayo Rum is the world’s first organic organic rum, and is produced by more than 800 families receiving fair wages, education and support from the Fair Trade Association. And with a long list of accolades, like medals in both the 2007 and 2006 International Wine & Spirits Competition, you can be sure that Papagayo does good and tastes good.
S I P - C e r t i f i e d W i n e
Sustainability In Practice is a certification program that provides a verifiable method to authenticate the vineyard’s attention to integrated farming practices. A commitment to environmental stewardship, equitable treatment of employees, and economic viability, that that was developed by the Central Coast Vineyard Team, a non-profit dedicated to sustainable winegrowing since 1994.
4 Copas Organic Margarita 2 oz. 4 Copas Organic Blanco Tequila 1.5 oz. Organic Lime Juice 1 oz. Organic 4 Copas Blue Agave Nectar Splash of club soda
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Fill glass with ice strain the mixture over fresh ice, garnish with lime and serve.
Bluecoat Tom Collins 2 ounces Bluecoat American Dry Gin 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice 3 ounce club soda 1 ounce simple syrup 1 slice orange
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the Bluecoat, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with the orange slice.
Wicked Dirty Martini 14 3 ounces of Vodka 14 with ice. 1 tablespoon of olive brine Black pepper Pimento stuffed olive
Shake vodka with ice. Add up to a tablespoon of olive brine, to taste, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a generous skewer of pimento stuffed olives and finish with a generous coarse grind of fresh black pepper.
Eco Mojito 2 ounces VeeV Acai Spirit 3/4 ounces agave nectar 4 lime wedges 6 mint leaves Club soda
Tear mint leaves and drop into shaker. Shake all ingredients with ice and transfer into a rock glass. Top with club soda and stir well.
Mountain Blueberry 14 3 ounces of Vodka 14 2 ounces of organic blueberry nectar Splash of organic balsamic vinegar Squeeze of fresh organic lime juice Grind of black pepper
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini or cosmo glass.
Strawberry Basil Spritzer 2 oz. Square One Organic Vodka 3 strawberries 2 basil leaves 1/2 oz. lemon juice 1/2 oz. agave nectar Club soda
Muddle strawberries and basil in a mixing glass. Add other ingredients except club soda. Shake briefly with ice. Strain into tall Collins glass filled with ice and layered with a few slices of strawberry and basil chiffonade. Top with club soda. Â Serve with a straw.
Botanical Lemon Drop 2 oz. Square One Botanical Vodka 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice 1/2 oz. organic agave nectar 1/2 bar spoon of Absinthe
Pour absinthe into a chilled cocktail glass, swirl to coat the glass and shake out excess. Pour all other ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake hard and strain. Garnish with lemon twist.
100% organic two michelin stars The story of Norway’s most exciting restaurant starts, rather mundanely, at an office Christmas party in 2009. But this was to be no ordinary Christmas party. Gathered together was the staff of Kolonihagen, a café and supplier of organic produce in Oslo run by Jon-Frede Engdahl, a charismatic Norwegian entrepreneur. At the party, Engdahl stood up and gave a speech in which he revealed an interesting fact: the folks at a certain French tyre company had mentioned that there were no Michelin-starred restaurants serving entirely organic produce. The gauntlet had been thrown down and Engdahl’s interest was piqued. Listening to this speech, and liking what he heard, was the husband of one of the Kolonihagen staff members: a young and ambitious Danish chef called Esben Holmboe Bang. The chef had learnt his craft at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Norway and Denmark and was now looking for a new challenge. Together with Pontus Dahlström, a Finn and one of the most talented sommeliers and front of house managers working in Norway, the trio trio would embark upon a remarkable project: Maaemo.
Not yet 30, Esben looks boyishly young, yet he comes across as unnaturally self-assured and passionate about his style of cooking. For him, the ingredients are everything and he strives to pay them respect by treating them as gently and honestly as possible. We are also joined by Pontus Dahlström who is Maaemo’s sommelier and runs the front of house. Having eaten at Maaemo, one thing I’m struck by is the unusually complementary roles the wines have to play and Dahlström is the driving force behind this. Tell me how you both came to be involved with the Maaemo project? Esben: It happened at a Christmas party two years ago. My wife worked with Jon-Frede (Engdahl) at Kolonihagen and Jon-Frede was giving a speech in which he said that he talked to Michelin and found out there were no organic Michelin-starred restaurants – there were restaurants using organic produce, but there were none using it 100% – and that it was his dream to create one.
So Jon-Frede and I sat down and had a talk about this. I’m really excited by organic and bio-dynamic produce and we were talking loosely about whether we could do something together, and as it became more and more concrete what it was we were going to do we had to get some wine people involved. I didn’t know Pontus at that time. We had met through a friend one or two times but we didn’t know each other personally. I was eating at Bagatelle (a former two-star restaurant in Oslo) back in the really old days when Pontus was running the restaurant, and I always thought he was the perfect Maître d’ and sommelier. So I said if we’re going to talk to someone we have to speak with Pontus. So we got in contact through a friend and he came on board quite early on. Pontus: And the thing was we really agreed on everything. For me it
all started with organic produce when I had my first daughter. I was raised in the 1980’s with microwave ovens and industrial food, so for me it’s maybe too late, but I want to give my daughter the best possible food there is. When I came on board in mid-January, I had been talking with a lot of different projects about starting something, but the ambition level wasn’t there. And here we really started off with (the attitude that) “we’re going to do this without compromising”. Jon-Frede asked us at the second or third meeting, “what about doing it (organic produce) only 90%”. We both said that it wouldn’t be interesting at all. If we’re going to do this it has to be a challenge, it has to do something for Norwegian food, and also make farmers produce better products.
“We’re going to do this without compromising”
Esben: There was a long prepping period before opening Maaemo. We looked at a lot of locations and spaces, and we had to meet a lot of suppliers, so the whole networking aspect was very important in order to get in touch with the farmers. And the farmers at first were kind of negative actually. They said, “OK you’re opening a small restaurant, but that doesn’t make a difference to us”.
Now it’s OK because the farmers see they get a lot of media coverage from us, but at first it was really hard to get the produce for the restaurant.
Maaemo – “Mother Earth” in old Finnish – opened its doors to the public in December 2010. The statistics alone make for fascinating reading: Maaemo uses 100% organic, biodynamic, or wild produce, of which 95% comes from Norway, and 85% of which is sourced from less than 60 miles or so from Oslo. I have had the good fortune to eat a couple of times at Maaemo since it opened and both times I was blown away by the experience. This really is cooking of the very highest level; intelligent, skilled, creative, even witty at times. Norway has seen nothing like it, and just six months into this project it already feels like Maaemo is forging a new and exciting path for Norwegian cuisine.
Pontus: It was easier to get wine from the best small wineries from all over the world than it was to get a farmer 100km from here to send kale to us down here in Oslo. So you were not only creating your own restaurant but having to educate people about the produce you wanted? Esben: Yes, almost. And we got educated also! When you work in a
restaurant the easiest thing should be to find produce; farmers are calling you and you just fill out a form and the goods are sent the next day.
But here it’s really hard; I have to order one week in advance and we have to go and pick it up. It’s fun though, it’s really fun. I have personal contact with all the farmers and we visit them and talk to them often. Pontus: We started up in the winter (December 2010), so we didn’t have
a huge selection of produce available. In January (2010) Esben sat down with a few of the best suppliers and started to plan to get the right product when we wanted it, in the right amount and size, and with the best flavours.
Esben: The farmers now are testing produce for us, and a lot of the
produce we’re getting now is stuff that we’ve asked them to grow. So there’s a more personal feel now, and that’s a strength of Maaemo, that we have this personal contact with our suppliers. Maaemo is certainly very different to any restaurant I’ve been to anywhere. How did you expect the Norwegian public to react to what you were trying to achieve? Esben: We were thinking that it’s going to be hard. In Norway I think
people generally don’t like it when people have ambition. It’s quite difficult for a restaurant to say they want to be the best. So we were humble and said we’re going to do the best we can, and in general the public responded positively and we got some good press. But we still hear people saying, “oh, they’re just going to do another Noma”. So quite early on we said we wouldn’t talk about Noma. They can do what they do and we’ll do what we do. The real challenge was the organic produce because people in Norway don’t have a very good relationship with organic food. Organic has a bit of a bad name in Norway; people avoid it in the supermarket saying it’s too expensive or too snobby. So we wanted people to understand that we were dong this (organic produce) to give them the best possible experience. We use organic because it is the best. Bottom line. Pontus: And it still is; we don’t have 50 people on the waiting list every night. It’s an expensive country to start up a restaurant and it’s tough; we’re never going to get rich from this. But that’s not the goal either; the goal is to be the best in our own way. And of course we respect the people doing other cuisine, but we have to find our own way and do as well as possible for our guests, that’s the goal. I think it’s fair to say there isn’t a big dining out culture here in Norway; eating out is expensive and people tend to do it for the one-off big events like birthdays or anniversaries or corporate dinners. And then, maybe people would traditionally expect things like foie gras and a big piece of meat with sauce and potatoes.
“Food is life and everything we get in here is alive or has been alive at some point”
So was it hard for you guys to go against this grain somewhat? Esben: The best thing for us is to showcase the best Norwegian ingredients and be as respectful as we can to those ingredients. But yes, that was one of the challenges. We have some vegetarian dishes and some people asked, “where’s the meat and potatoes and sauce”? We had one famous Norwegian chef, I’m not going to say who, who came in and he said, “but you have to have some sauce, where’s the sauce?”
taking pictures. We’re in a food blogger era now, and sometimes we can follow service on Twitter and say “oh, table 7 liked this”. But it’s fun because people take it more seriously. They come in for an experience and they expect to think about the food and get involved with the food.
Pontus: We want to have a relaxed ambience in the restaurant. For example, we are 100% organic but we only mention this once when we present the menu. We really want to explain the story behind each course. We try to educate people in a nice way; we don’t want them to feel we are talking down to them. We want to give guests something to think about while they are eating.
Would you ever go down the route of growing your own produce? Esben: Yes, we may get a small allotment. So we’re hopefully going to
start producing soon.
Esben: It’s better now; more people know a bit more about what we are trying to do. Nine out of ten nights we have people with cameras
Pontus: In the future that’s really the goal: To have full control (of the produce) from the beginning to the end.
native Norwegian, Esben isn’t and none of the chefs are. So we see things our own way, a little bit like tourists. We’re really trying to find our own way and what Norway really is in our eyes.
Esben: It’s life. Food is life and everything we get in here is alive or has been alive at some point. So it’s about making sure you respect that. The best way of ensuring that everything we use has had a good life is by growing it ourselves, that way we know all our standards have been fulfilled.
Esben: There’s a lot of teamwork at Maaemo. We’re all quite young here
and there’s a drive to do something extraordinary and we work really hard everyday to give the best possible experience. We feel like there’s something going on but we don’t quite know what it is or where it’s going to end. But there is something special here and everybody is sharing this feeling so it’s a remarkable place to work because everybody is just pushing really hard. Now we get international chefs coming here to work, so there is something going on and it’s really, really fun to a part of it.
Esben: The farmers have a profound respect for what they do, and when
you meet them and talk to them you get a lot of respect for them. In the end you reflect that on the plate as you don’t want to mess it up. We have a Jerusalem artichoke dish, and Else (Else Skålvoll Thorenfeldt from Korsvold Farm), who produces these artichokes for us, puts out blankets at night in the winter so the ground doesn’t freeze, and she gets up early the next day to pick these small artichokes for us. There’s a lot of work going into it. So when a chef makes a mistake I don’t get angry, I just get sad. So there’s a lot of respect for produce at Maaemo, that’s the most important thing.
Pontus: Our goal is to get better; this service has to be better than the last, with everything we do – it’s the way we walk, it’s the way we talk, it’s the way we treat the vegetables, everything. As long as we can keep that momentum in the restaurant then we will bring the restaurant forward and give a better experience to our guests. That’s what it’s all about basically.
It strikes me that you’re remarkably young, Esben, yet you seem to have a great maturity in wanting to treat the ingredients as honestly as possible. Inevitably there will be comparisons made with Noma. How would you describe your cooking style and what have your influences been?
You speak about teamwork. Tell me a bit about the collaborative process works in terms of recipe development; how do you research ideas? Also the wine menu here seems extraordinarily well-matched with the food, how do you come up with that remarkable pairing of food and wine?
Esben: I don’t know actually! I got a lot from Denmark. I worked in
Copenhagen, and the food scene there evolved really quickly and there was a lot of stuff going on. Not so much in Norway. When I first came to Norway I was kind of disappointed because I thought I was coming to the country with the best produce. And I just saw imported French produce in all the fine dining restaurants. And I got really disappointed. So quite early on I said I’m going to learn as much as possible in the fine dining restaurants in Oslo, but this is not for me. I always want when I cook for it to be as natural as possible and I want the reference point to be when the produce is in nature, because that’s when it tastes the best. When you take fresh herbs in the forest and you eat it there it has a clear flavour and is pure. Everything else that happens on the way to the plate just dilutes the flavour.
Esben: It often starts in the kitchen with just an idea. For example we
have a new rhubarb dish that came on a couple of weeks ago. We were thinking we wanted to do something with rhubarb and milk. I wanted to make an ice cream that had a clean milk flavour with almost no added sugar and we were thinking (about it). I said to the chefs that we had to think about making an ice cream with no added sugar. We tested a lot and we tried to reduce the milk. In the end one of the chefs came up with the idea that we had to do it in a vacuum for a long time. So we had the ovens set at different temperatures, and for maybe a week we put milk in every night and tasted it afterwards and measured its sugar content. In the end we found the perfect temperature that was high enough to let the natural sugar almost caramelise so it gave texture to the ice cream while keeping a clean milk flavour. And then we just worked from there. We got the milk and then we thought about how to get a clean rhubarb flavour with it. It takes anywhere from 2 days to 2 months. Quite early on I pitched the idea to Pontus so he could start with the wine.
So I don’t know how to describe the cooking style, but of course it is Scandinavian cooking. It is a part of the “New Nordic” thing, but still it’s personal cuisine and it’s hard to label it because we cook from the heart here and we want the flavours to be as clear as possible, no dilution, really clean flavours. Of course, inspiration-wise it’s the whole “New Nordic” movement. Before Noma there were a lot of restaurants doing similar food in Denmark. Of course, Noma got a lot of hype and press, but I think there were and are small restaurants in Copenhagen that are serving really good “New Nordic” cuisine.
Pontus: We sit down and he gives me ideas on paper. He paints the dish and describes what will be in it, and then I start to think flavours. With the way we work here it’s quite difficult sometimes. For example with the sea kale dish, that’s the base of the dish, I’ve never worked with that before, what do we do? So we have courses that we have tested over 40 wines with before we are satisfied. When we start to think wine, the most important thing is respect for the food. So I’m always thinking about intensity. How much flavour? We have a balance to strike and I want the wine to be just below the food (in intensity) yet bring something to the course. So with the rhubarb dish, for example, we serve a strange wine. It’s a Moscata Rosa, which is really floral, so it goes with the harmony of flavours but it’s less intense, and the floral flavours give an extra dimension to the course. And that’s really what food and wine is about.
Pontus: It was interesting reading the introduction to his (René Redzepi’s)
book. He mentions all the things that went through his head when he started to make, for example, Scandinavian stock and he didn’t get it to work out and had to rethink everything. Of course, it takes time to find your identity and he has started something like Paul Bocuse did in the 1960’s with “Nouvelle Cuisine” or El Bulli in the 1980’s; he started it all. But today there are a lot of people making their own way. Esben: He (Redzepi) started something, but today there are branches
coming out and people are establishing themselves in interpreting Scandinavian cuisine. So that’s what we’re doing; we are interpreting Norwegian nature and Norwegian produce. I don’t think we are there yet at all. We are starting to get a style and an identity but it’s still a process. We have only been open half a year, but it’s coming.
In Scandinavia, we don’t have a history of pairing wine with food. If you go to Burgundy and serve something other than a red Burgundy with your Coq au Vin they will shoot you around the corner when it gets dark! Up here we can do whatever we want. That’s what I try to think about: to give the unexpected to the guest and to have the wine bring something to the dish. And it’s really, really hard. I’m maybe totally
Pontus: Our goal is to give the taste and flavour and ambience of the nature that surrounds us. Which means the Oslo Fjord, Nordmarka Forest just above us, and all these things. That’s the goal. I am not a
Pontus: In terms of respect, it’s really about everybody that works here. We have people that have been working for low wages and working for free in some of the best restaurants who now work for us. If we don’t respect them we don’t get good employees, and if we don’t get good employees we can’t operate at the level we want.
It seems like a very Scandinavian trait to have this mutual respect and understanding, unlike in many other kitchens where you have a very hierarchical, almost dictatorial, structure. Pontus: I cleaned the toilets before you came! I’m not better than
others here; without them I’m nothing. I can’t run the restaurant alone. Ultimately I think this (attitude) is one of our strengths and gives a better result for the guests. Esben: Everything we do here, and this is what we say to all new staff,
leads up to the point where the guest walks in the door and the experience starts. Everything has to be 100% – and that’s how you come in in the morning, how you hang up your clothes when you change into your chef’s whites – otherwise you don’t give the guests the best experience. What ambitions do you have for Maaemo? Where would you like the restaurant to be going forward? Do you have global ambitions to turn Maaemo into a food destination in its own right? Esben: It’s a balance, because you can’t think about it too much. Of course, we have ambitions and that is to be the best we can be, and then we’ll see what happens. But you can’t say, “yeah, I want two stars”. Everyday has to be better than the day before and then we’ll see what happens.
But if you want to survive in this business then you have to have some international renown because there are not enough people dining out in Norway. You have to have tourists coming in. So of course, our goal is try and get Maaemo as well known as we can.
“I want the reference point to be when the produce is in nature, because that’s when it tastes the best”
Now we have more people coming, and it’s nice to see Norwegians appreciating what we are doing. That’s been the main objective because we are making Norwegian food with Norwegian produce, so it warms the heart if Norwegians like it.
satisfied with 30% of the wine pairings. But there are limitations; even though we have 14,500 wines available in Norway, it is not enough to create a perfect pairing with every dish.
Pontus: I think seafood, too. But also, as I’m born and raised in Finland where we don’t have a tradition for lamb, the lamb here in Norway, especially from the high mountains, has a fantastic flavour because of what they eat.
Moving on, if there was one Norwegian ingredient you’d like the world to know about, what would that be? Esben: Jarlsberg!
No, I think seafood, of course: Norwegian scallops, langoustines, and lobsters are magnificent. When I worked in Denmark we didn’t get live scallops. Noma was the first to get live scallops. So when we get them here and you take them out of their shells and they’re still twitching because they’re so fresh, it’s magnificent.
Esben: One of the things that has always surprised me is how a lot of
chefs, when they make dish, will say “now it’s finished, now it’s perfect”. And they say to the sommelier, “find a wine for this”. And that (approach) doesn’t work. We have to have respect for each other.
Esben: And berries! Because we have low temperatures here they get
When I feel that a dish is finished, it’s not finished until the combination with the wine is there. That’s really important for us because people come in and they pay a lot of money to sit down and have a perfect combination, so we have to work together to give our guests the best possible food-wine pairing. I think Pontus is one of the best sommeliers there is right now and you have to have respect for each other.
Pontus: There are a lot of things. But it’s really due to the climate
longer growing time so they develop a sweetness that is just magnificent. There’s just so much to say actually.
– the cold waters and weather – flavours need time to develop. We are in a really unique place here in the world. Esben: It’s magnificent – by far the best produce – and it’s really, really
fun to live by the seasons.
J u l i a n n a
T h e
B a r w i c k
M a g i c
P l a c e
There are currently no functioning synonyms (ask
Julianna Barwick grew up singing hymns in churches
On his third solo album as Atlas Sound, Deerhunter
Thesaurus) for the term “lo-fi,” so I’ll spare us all
in Louisiana and Missouri, and now the Brooklyn
main man Bradford Cox hones the tortured
the agony of trying to find a more nuanced way
singer replicates those grandiose choir sounds
troubadour persona he embodies in the cover
to pigeonhole this band. Fuzzed-out beach rock
as a solo artist, cloning and looping her own
sleeve’s vintage crooner portrait, shot by Mick Rock.
already feels dead, and it’s not even summer yet.
wordless vocals, stringing ambient patchworks
Parallax’s personality is as much about moody,
with minimal instrumentation.
impressionistic aesthetics as it is pop-idol earnestness.
sunscreen, Beach Fossils sound like the jaded kids
The result is a kaleidoscopic dream where Björk,
Cox gently combines guttural vocals, impassioned
who grew up in a touristy beach town and wouldn’t
Grouper, Panda Bear, and the Cocteau Twins are
wailing, dirge-y folk riffs, 70s rock swagger and sunny
dream of setting foot on the sand until the last
heard, even though in reality it’s just Barwick.
melodies. In doing so, he takes us on the kind of
umbrellas come down post –Labor Day- but they’re
Incorporating more instrumentation than her debut,
tumultuous journey you might expect from a lonely
too unmotivated to move away or join their peers.
her sophomore record begins with the hazy, hypnotic
soul locked in his room with a lot of time to think,
“Envelop,” whose vocal and synth layers build into
vacillating between the ambling and sullen Doldrums
“I never have plans when it turns to night/Cuz
a melancholy, lyric-less mantra. The centerpiece is
and Modern Aquatic Nightsongs and the pleasant
I don’t do nothing but stay inside” frontman
“White Flag,” a five-minute soundscape that starts
pop strumming of Mona Lisa and Terra Incognita.
Dustin Payseur half-hums on “Golden Age.” The combo
with a 12-second hummed phrase; it’s looped, and
that’s lethal in life -lazy and restless- works magically
dotted with higher pitches trembling in the distance.
While everyone else is applying a fresh layer of
on the album, drifting by atop dually dark and
There are shades of classic 50s-style crooning in Cox’s vocals, but his voice has a sublime spectral
catchy streamlined melodies, carried by powerful
The one-woman choir may seem eccentric, but
bass lines à la Joy Division’s “Disorder.”
by the last of these nine vignettes, Barwick has
It’s a best-case album for beach days foiled by clouds.
accomplished what few pur veyors of such pristine beauty can. Through its oddities, The Magic Place shines.
quality that adds a lingering disquiet.
The instrumental pieces by Francisco Javier Aravena
Gauntlet Hair’s self-titled debut is less a collection
The full-length follow-up to her 2011 debut EP
Riveros are an intense, creative, free expression of
of individual songs than it is an endless loop of
Sister Wife, 2012’s King Con features more of
the deep South America. Marked Viscerally with
blissed-out reverb. The record is mired in shimmering
singer/songwriter Alex Winston’s buoyant,
this imaginary opaque forests, animals and wild
harmonies and chamber-echo vocals that become
technicolor psych and folk-influenced pop.
sounds, the young Chilean student of 24 years just
less and less discernable with each listen. But that's
composed his first album “Pacarina”. He delivers it
sort of the point here, isn’t it? The kids call it
A opera-trained vocalist, the Michigan-born Winston
under the name of Ocelote Rojo, a small mythical
chillwave for a reason, and even though that term
came off as a kind of cherubic indie rock Kate Bush
lynx, ancient symbol of Latin American unity and
is debatable, there is something to be said for
on Sister Wife, and King Con does nothing if not
struggle of all its peoples.
Gauntlet Hair’s ability to just chill out. Like a
reinforce this notion. These are meticulously crafted,
ripple into a tidal wave, the album crests and
gargantuanly melodic songs that frame Winston’s fairy
“Untitled # 1" is a beautiful ballad on acoustic guitar,
then starts again, tracks washing into each other in
siren of a voice with swirling, sparkling productions
which makes us dive into the fascinating tropicality
impetuous crashes and quiet movements. The
(via the Knocks) rife with bells and keyboards,
of the Amazon. Described by the artist as a result
effect is calming, and emphatically so. There’s a
shimmering guitar bits, and veritable marching
of its Latin folk inspirations, it is reminiscent of
tranquility in all the din, a natural cadence to the
bands of rhythm. While a few tracks carry over
Durutti Column or Ben Watt pop melancholy.
unnatural synthesized rhythms.
from Sister Wife, including the title track, the ‘60s girl group-sounding “Choice Notes,” and the yearning
“Tenochtitlan Sunbean Gun” explores the more abstract
The standout tracks “Keep Time” and “Lights Out”
“Locomotive,” listeners also get more than few
side of Pacarina. It’s a warrior trance, punctuated
make good use of clattering basslines and handclap
hummable, immediately catchy numbers like the
by samples of “Dinosauria, We” by Charles Bukowski,
tempos. Both thunder on, then noisily fade out, an
swoony “Velvet Elvis” and the wide-eyed and cinematic
as echoes to the Ocelote Rojo commitment.
almost-homage to the shoegaze school of thought.
“Medicine.” While the album title suggests that
But the record’s real appeal is its hypnotic dance
Winston’s talents may be less than genuine, King
from one track to another. The worst of it? It’s a
Con is never anything less than truly inspired.
mess of over-processed noise that sounds like one really long song. Incidentally, that’s also what makes it such a layered, interesting listen.
Layout and Design Nikolai Kaasa | Photographers Nikolai Kaasa | Jeff Thorburn | Jimmy Linus | Larry page | Writers Anthony Carew | Greg Henry | Diana Vilibert | Lisa Carver | Michael Battan |
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