Restaurants reach for Michelin stars

Two new restaurants have joined the ranks of Oslo’s most exclusive eateries after each receiving a star in the new Michelin Guide. The three existing Michelin-starred restaurants in Oslo all kept their status, and there are now so many high-ranked restaurants in northern Europe that Michelin will release a dedicated Nordic restaurant guide for the first time next year.

Fauna received a Michelin star on Wednesday, less than a year after it opened under Jo Bøe and PHOTO: facebook/Restaurant Fauna

Fauna received a Michelin star on Wednesday, less than a year after it opened under chefs Jo Bøe Klalegg and Bjørn Svensson. Ylajali was the other new Oslo addition to the guide. Michelin announced it would release a dedicated Nordic guide in 2015, featuring cities in restaurants outside the capitals. PHOTO: facebook/Restaurant Fauna

The latest guide to restaurants in 44 cities across 20 European countries was presented in Stockholm on Wednesday morning, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Ylajali and Fauna are the two Oslo restaurants welcomed into the fold, joining Statholdergaarden and Bagatelle with one star each and Maaemo, which has two stars.

Jo Bøe Klagegg opened Fauna in June last year, together with chef Bjørn Svensson who closed his own renowned restaurant in 2012. Klagegg said he was stunned to win a star so soon after opening. “It is one of the most coveted you can get in the restaurant industry,” said a delighted Klagegg. “But Bjørn previously ran Restaurant Oscarsgate, which also got a star in the Michelin Guide. Much of the team from there is now at Fauna, so we are a well established gang.”

Ylajali has been operating since 2002, and head chef Epsen Ramsvik said the star was a result of many years of dedicated effort. He told NRK the award carries a “healthy” level of pressure. “Then you have expectations to keep you on your toes, and you can’t rest on your laurels,” said Ramsvik. “It means we must be on the attack and steadily develop ourselves further, and I think that is fun in a restaurant. We will continue to make the changes we feel are necessary along the way, and continue to hone the concept to make it as good as possible.”

Dedicated Nordic guide
So many northern restaurants have now received stars, the Michelin Guide’s International Director Michael Ellis announced on Wednesday the group was set to release a dedicated Nordic guide for the first time next year. It will include cities outside the capitals, reported news bureau NTB.

“It is very important for us to look at which areas we will choose,” said Ellis. “There are many small cities in the Nordics where exciting things are happening, but I won’t reveal anything, because it is important that the inspectors can work anonymously. They are out in the field at this moment.”

Michelin judges base their assessments on the quality of the raw ingredients, the “craft” including flavour and preparation, the “personality” and chef’s individual expression, value for money, and high quality no matter when you visit. Three stars are given to restaurants worth traveling to, two stars for restaurants worth a detour, and one star for a restaurant that is very good in its category. Michelin also gives “Bib Gourmand” awards to very good value for money restaurants.

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate