If you said to me this time last year I’d be spending my days on the beach at the tip of Zealand in Denmark foraging for roses, I would tell you to kindly fuck off. Foraging was a concept I had barely even heard of before Ballymaloe. Now I feel like it’s the way forward. Looking and collecting wild foods that are delicious and new is pretty special. I nearly gave my friends a heart attack a month ago at the beach in Ireland when we walked out to sea at low tide and I ate some seaweed that was lying on the seabed. It was basic Dillisk that grows everywhere in Ireland and is super tasty, even if my pals need some convincing. Here in Copenhagen it’s the norm, to the point that some restaurants have full time gardeners that forage for items daily for the menu.
The kitchen can become a little rough after 60-70 hr weeks so 3 days spent by the sea is fine by me. Right now the rose ‘Rubra’ is almost finished it’s season of bloom so I got to go out and pick as many as we possibly could before the petals were all lost to the wind. This particular rose is like a weed, it goes beside the sea everywhere in Copenhagen. It’s amazingly fragrant, kind of like your Granny’s soap (you know the one I’m talking about!).
The minute I walked over to the first bushel of roses I stepped in an ant’s nest. Great start. Ants everywhere. Those fuckers are fast. When your Sous Chef pisses himself laughing at your squeals and has to help you get rid of all the ants, you tend to reevaluate your approach. Needless to say I was more careful where I stepped after that.
We picked a lot of flowers and the full time gardener is still going around the coast picking every last petal. The roses that we picked were made into an oil. This oil is super potent. I don’t know if I will be here for when they roll it out on the menu but I hope I’ll get to try the dish. When the oil was infused, I used Noma’s lab to centrifuge the rose sediment which spins it at crazy speeds (4200 spins per minute to be exact) and separates liquid of different weights so the oil comes away from the heavier mass. It’s a pretty surreal experience being in Noma’s lab by yourself using such expensive equipment, where they made so many discovers about food but there you go. Anyone who knows me knows how I am allergic to technology so if I can do this a monkey could probably do it better.
Elder flower is the next plant that will be picked by the team of chefs and gardeners. The other night at 11pm after service I was pulled over to Noma to pick 60kg of elder flowers. The smell was absolutely amazing! We are using them as a garnish because they are so beautiful. In Denmark everything is pickled, so needless to say pickled elder flower is actually delicious. I am also making some cordial in my Copenhagen house… hopefully it turns out lovely ❤
Also thanks so much for all the emails from strangers and new friends, it means a lot!