Norway has produced another top chef. Christian André Pettersen from the northern coastal town of Bodø soared to the top of his profession Tuesday when he won the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Europa competition in Italy.
“It’s an enormous relief to know the result,” Pettersen exclaimed after winning the equivalent of the European championship in cooking. Scandinavians took all the top prizes, with Sweden winning silver and Denmark bronze.
It was Pettersen, a 28-year-old chef at Mondo restaurant in Sandnes, just south of Stavanger, who won the gold medal after creating a meal that included risotto and mandel potatoes from Northern Norway. Like many Norwegian chefs, Pettersen uses lots of local fresh food from Norway but was also influenced by his mother from the Philippines.
“I learmed basic home cooking from papa (who had his own restaurant and catering business in Bodø and Lofoten) and Asian, complex tastes from mama,” Pettersen told weekly magazine D2 in March of last year. That wasn’t long after Forbes Magazine had included Christian André Pettersen on its list of “30 under 30,” as being among the most promising young entrepreneurs in the world, and those who’ll set the tone in the future. Two other Norwegians made the list: Electronic musician Kygo and photographer Kyrre Lien.
At that point Pettersen had placed second in S Pellegrinos Young Chef competition in Milan. He also has a contract to wear the high-end Swiss watch Hublot in all public appearances. “I’ve wondered, how did a guy from Bodø get on Forbes list,” he mused to D2. “But Norway is a strong nation when it comes to raw food, the Arctic cold, the sea and the nature. The Nordic countries are setting trends in the world within food, and having influence.”
Pettersen is also competitive by nature, and has said he’s motivated that “every little detail counts.” He considers himself a blend of east and west, with his Filipina mother and Norwegian father, who died five years ago. He’s already looking forward to competing in the world finals of Bocuse d’Or in Lyon in January.
“We’ve worked hard for this,” he exclaimed as he celebrated with a banquet Tuesday evening. “It will be an even tougher level. We just have to keep working hard.” Norway’s 13 cooks qualifying to compete in Bocuse d’Or have won five gold medals, three silvers and two in bronze since 1987.