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A Stellar Night for Nordic Cuisine: Michelin Guide 2024 Awards

It was a veritable shower of stars over the Nordics when the Michelin Guide bestowed its accolades during a glamorous gala at the Savoy Theatre in Helsinki. Jordnær in Copenhagen and Re-Naa in Stavanger both ascended to the top echelon of the red guide, joining four other elite Nordic restaurants.

The Savoy Theatre resounded with applause and saw a few tears of joy when the Michelin Nordic Guide 2024 was unveiled earlier this week. It truly was a stellar evening for Nordic cuisine. Re-Naa in Stavanger and Jordnær in Gentofte, just outside Copenhagen, were each awarded three stars, placing them in the prestigious top tier alongside Noma, Geranium, Frantzén, and Maaemo. Perhaps the most surprised was Sven-Erik Renaa, who expressed his astonishment on stage. "I came here to meet colleagues and have a fun evening. I couldn’t imagine I would get three stars," he remarked.

Sven-Erik Renaa is a distinguished chef who began his career at Britannia Hotel and has also worked at the legendary Park Avenue Café in Oslo. He moved to Stavanger, taking on roles such as coach for the Norwegian Culinary Team, before opening Renaa Restaurants in 2009. Alongside his wife Torill, Chef Renaa also runs Matbaren Bistro and Sirkus Renaa, which is a bakery, pizzeria, patisserie, and gelateria in Stavanger.

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Restaurant Jordnær in Gentofte in the outskirt of Copenhagen has been on the cusp of three stars for a few years, and this year, it finally made the leap. Owners Erik and Tina Kragh Vildgaard are a celebrated couple, partly due to Erik's remarkable journey from a criminal gang background to finding solace and success in cooking. Tina, his wife, is an acclaimed restaurant manager and a former winner of the Michelin Guide Service Award.

In Sweden, two restaurants led by returning star chefs were honoured. Daniel Berlin’s Vyn, which opened in October, immediately earned two stars, while Mathias Dahlgren’s newly opened Seafood Gastro received one star. Both chefs were also lauded by Falstaff this spring; Mathias Dahlgren was named Lifestyle Achievement of the Year, and Daniel Berlin and Vyn were recognised as Chef of the Year and New Restaurant of the Year, respectively.

"It feels fantastic, for me and my team. There are many sacrifices behind this restaurant," said an emotional Daniel Berlin right after the award ceremony. "It takes time for me to process this. We haven’t talked much about Michelin stars at the restaurant; instead, we focused on guest satisfaction. I would have been disappointed if I delivered exactly what the guest expects. I want to overdeliver, and that’s what drives me. We will continue to do that, and with two stars behind us, we will do it even more."

A recurring theme throughout the evening was the courage to forge one's own path and persevere. This was particularly evident during the Young Chef Award presentation, which went to Anika Madesen of Iris, a notable restaurant that opened in a floating orb in Hardangerfjord, Norway, a year ago, and Nicky Abentsen of Aure in Copenhagen, whose restaurant has been open for barely three months. These two young talents also received a golden star. Finnish newcomer Kozeen Shiwan, who earned a star for his restaurant The Room by Kozeen Shiwan, delivered a passionate speech about daring to follow one's own way.

Among the Norwegian stars, Kontrast with chef Mikael Svensson also shone particularly brightly. The restaurant earned an additional star, bringing its total to two, along with a green star for sustainability, in recognition of projects like b.culture, where he creates fermented products from the restaurant’s waste.

The Michelin Guide evaluates restaurants based on criteria such as the quality of ingredients, cooking techniques, value for money, and the individuality of the cuisine. "We can see a trend where today’s restaurateurs have a message. Maybe not directly on the plate, but in the way they run their restaurants, almost like pop-ups. Look at Bar Amour in Oslo, which is located in a back room above a pizzeria, or The Room by Kozeen Shiwan in Helsinki. Today, it’s very much about creating a sustainable restaurant in every sense, including economically and in how they work with their teams. We view this as a positive development," said one of the anonymous inspectors in a phone call after the gala.

The Michelin Guide Nordic Countries 2024 includes 268 recommended restaurants, including:

  • 6 Three Michelin Star restaurants (2 new)
  • 13 Two Michelin Star restaurants (2 new)
  • 66 One Michelin Star restaurants (9 new)
  • 36 Michelin Green Star restaurants (4 new)
  • 37 Bib Gourmand restaurants (8 new)

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Tove Oskarsson Henckel
Tove Oskarsson Henckel
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