Scan Magazine, Issue 84, January 2016

Page 32

Scan Magazine | Culinary Feature | Aymara Cocina Latina

Kim Daniel Mikalsen can be seen on Norwegian TV2 from the end of January, as he competes for the first prize in Top Chef.

Oslo’s top chef cooking up the works Having cooked up the works at some of Norway’s hottest restaurants, many of them adorned with Michelin stars and various other accolades, it was no great surprise that Kim Daniel Mikalsen would one day play part in the start-up of a highly successful restaurant. Now the head chef and co-owner at Aymara Cocina Latina is in for a new challenge in the first ever season of TV series Top Chef Norway. By Julie Lindén | Photos: Aymara Cocina Latina

“I’m a chef because I believe cooking is the coolest, most fun thing in the world,” says the chef, who is just as enthusiastic as he is outspoken about everything culinary. He is not fond of silence, and prefers lengthier depictions of his profession – without ever becoming boring. In fact, Mikalsen’s explanations of what constitutes a great meal will have you wondering why you never thought of the topic in such detail before. “Much is about texture – merging soft with crunchy, sleek with rough,” he says. 32 | Issue 84 | January 2016

“There’s a reason why chips and salsa is a hit with nearly everyone you ask. Nobody likes what I refer to as ‘restaurant baby food’: puréed components that add nothing to the plate besides mass. I like working with all senses when composing meals.”

From Peruvian streets to Oslo It was after an inspirational trip to Latin America that Mikalsen co-founded Aymara in Oslo. Owner and colleague Rodrigo Belda, Norwegian-Chilean

and noted restaurateur, seems like Mikalsen’s perfect business match. “Kim is very good at working with aspects of cooking that many forget – for instance that of the balance between tastes and textures, and remaining inventive in the kitchen,” he says. Mikalsen explains that it was because of Belda’s suggestion that the two visited Latin America, where he discovered a passion for a new cuisine. “I was completely taken aback by what the Latin world had to offer. We went to Peru to explore the culinary scene there – on a Michelin level as well as street food level – and I believe Aymara is the fruit of that trip in the most wholehearted way. Our dishes are not based on one ‘level’ of dining alone, but mix the best of urban, street-food type trends with the more established traditions. It’s a restaurant we’re proud to call ours,” he explains.

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