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Introducing Christian Tikkanen - chef at the Finnish Embassy in Oslo

With 22 years in the industry, Christian Tikkanen has great experience in Nordic cooking. Trained in Finnish cuisine in a number of restaurants around Finland, he now manages the kitchen at the Finnish embassy in Oslo.

- Local produce is central to my cooking. The Norwegians call it short-distance food and I work with Norwegian growers who are dedicated to good produce and can deliver high quality ingredients.

According to Christian´s philosophy, food should always be honest, tasty and have a clear identity. Additionally, it should be easy to cook, easy to find, easy to afford and easy to love.

- To me, it is crucial that my food is created, not copied. It must contain something for all senses and surpass all the guests´ expectations.

Facts

Favourite Cookbook?

Tore Wretman´s ”Mat och Minnen”. It´s a rich source of useful gastronomic history as well as more personal reflections on gastronomy. A more contemporary favourite is “Bagateller för livsnjutare” by the Norwegian chef Öjvind Hellström.

Nordic dish which has made a success of the Embassy?

Filet of reindeer with puréed Hamburg root parsley, potato galette, caramelised red cabbage, swede stewed in orange and game gravy.

Recommendations to other chefs what to keep in the pantry?

Root vegetables; root parsley, parsnips, swede, beetroot. They can match almost anything and are genuinely Nordic. And, of course, homemade stocks.

What is your favorite produce?

Baltic herring and asparagus when it´s in season in the Nordic countries.

Spring, summer, autumn or winter?

Autumn, the harvest period with all its produce and abundance of flavours.

Favourite tool in your kitchen? 

The knife, of course, since it´s crucial and required for my job. It´s an extension of my arm.

Favourite Nordic drink?

Finnish white wine, i.e. vodka, mixed with hawthorn juice and crushed ice. I call it Aurora borealis.

Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

The small scale producers that I have locally. Their high-quality produce inspires me to be creative in the kitchen.

Photo: New Nordic Food II