Introducing Christoph Fink - head chef at the Swedish Embassy in Vienna
Christoph Fink runs the kitchen at the Swedish embassy in Vienna. Due to his tyrolean origin - he was lucky to grow up in the mountains with it's unique vegetation and products - he is dedicated to the Nordic kitchen and works according to its values; pure, fresh simple and ethical.
- I am a curious person and enjoy experimenting. Last Christmas, I distilled our family Christmas tree to make a fir tree granitè. I love working with products like vegetable-trimmings, "minor" meat-cuts, offals etc. which are generally under-estimated by other cooks.
Christoph tries to minimize his carbon footprint, and therefore uses predominately local ingredients in his Nordic dishes. Some produce is grown by a local - organically working - farmer in Vienna who provides Christoph with herbs and vegetables of stunning quality as well as with ingredients that are used in the Nordic kitchen - like dill-blossoms and old vegetable-varieties.
The freshwater fish used in the embassy-kitchen comes from a grower some 30 kilometers south of vienna, the organic meat from the northern region of Waldviertel or from the Wienerwald very close to vienna. - Keeping up continuously with his suppliers is crucial to Christoph in order to achieve the desired quality in his kitchen.
- During a busy embassy function, it may be hard to make an impression but I always aim to serve food that makes the guest reflect - even if it´s only for a couple of seconds; the nicest way to achieve this is trying to evoke a little smile.To broaden his knowledge, Christoph last year took a course in Swedish cookery for Swedish Embassy Chefs at the Swedish Restaurant Academy in Stockholm.
Paul Bocuse, "La Cuisine du Marchè" (reflects "old-style-cuisine" at it's best), Fergus Henderson, "Nose to Tail Cooking" (nose to tail cooking), Mathias Dahlgren, "Det naturliga köket" (a very modern but at the same moment very down-to-earth-kitchen), Heston Blumenthal, "The Fat Duck Cookbook" " (i like Blumenthals unconventional and comprehensive approach to taste)
Nordic dish which made a success of the Embassy?
Hints to other chefs what to keep in the pantry?
Butter of best quality, calf's trotter fond, variety of homemade vegetable juices (frozen)
What is your favorite produce?
Celeriac - fresh celeriac-juice is a wonderful taste-enhancer in savoury dishes, you can cook very rich almost black jus from roast celeriac, but you can also make aromatical celeriac-sorbet and celeriac-icecream
Spring, summer, autumn or winter?
All of them!
Favorite tool in your kitchen? My heart and my brain.
Nordic favorite drink? Sav
Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?
Ludwig van beethoven - i admire the way he can evolve a whole e.g. string-quartet-movement out of just one idea without using empty phrases or meaningless effects but never neglecting music and sentiment.
Photo: New Nordic Food II