“Finding Røros was like finding gold!”

Mikael Forselius på Britannia
Foto: Wil Lee-Wright

Mikael Forselius – ambassador for local food development, restauranteur, chef, writer and hotel director – is backing Trøndelag to be the next European Region of Gastronomy

Having grown up on farms in Sweden, the local food enthusiast became an honorary ‘Trønder’ (resident of Trøndelag) after moving to Norway in 1995. Forselius is now Managing Director of the 150-year old Britannia Hotel in Trondheim and is developing the region as an international food destination.

Forselius’ passion for telling the stories behind local produce found the perfect bedfellow, when he became Head Chef of the Røros Hotel, in a traditional wooden mining settlement with UNESCO world heritage status.

“Finding Røros was like finding gold!” he enthuses. “I instantly became friends with the Saami people, who would take me with them to herd the reindeer. I also got to meet the farmers and speak about their organic products, stories which would inspire the food I served. We had suppliers coming in with 100kg of delicious wild trout, whereas the chefs before me had turned them away because each fish was a different size.”

Foreslius, also a trained Norwegian Sommelier, was inspired by the wine cooperatives of central Europe and created Rørosmat; a collaboration between the local food producers. Rørosmat has been instrumental in making the region known for being one of Norway’s leading areas for locally produced food.

“In Trøndelag we enjoy the perfect conditions, at an unusually northerly latitude. Because of the currents we are able to grow things here that would not be possible if you were to go just a little further north. There are similarities to Champagne, which is famous for being the northern most area for growing Chardonnay. Trøndersk produce and seafood is little bit like that.”

Bilde av Mikael Forselius i kokkeklær bak serveringsdisk
Photo: Will Lee-Wright

Today, Trondheim and Trøndelag are enjoying (and indeed leading) a new trend for world-class chefs moving to the where the best ingredients are. Storytelling is at the heart of the best chefs’ plates, and being close to the products enables them to be credible.

Forselius has himself launched several restaurant and has also published many award-winning cookbooks, including his book on Foraging, which won Cookbook of the year. He’s won several cooking awards including the coveted Ingrid Espelid Matkulturpris for his contribution to food culture, and been a regular personality on TV, promoting the rapid rise of Trøndersk food in the nation’s conscience.

While Head Chef at the new Rica Nidelven in 2003, Forselius curated the breakfast which went on to win ‘Best Breakfast in Norway’ for 13 years running. Forselius was lured back to Røros in 2007, where he headed the Røros Hotel Group. On his return to Trondheim, Forselius was instrumental in inspiring Bocuse D’Or silver winner Christopher Davidsen to open his first signature restaurant, Speilsalen, at Britannia Hotel.

“We are starting to be recognised as the most famous food producing region in the Nordics. We’ve had the best ingredients for 8,000 years, ever since people followed the wild reindeer to Trøndelag. But we are not just a producer, we are also a location where Michelin and Bocuse D’Or winning chefs settle down in order to be closer to history and products.”

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