Swedish chef shows off Nordic culinary art in Ho Chi Minh City

A Nordic culinary month was organised for the first time in Vietnam by European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) at New World Saigon hotel on May 13-23, 2004 with the participation of the most famous Nordic chef, Karl Jonas Grip, from Sweden. At the European restaurant Parkview, with his creativeness and long experience, the chef introduced the delicacies of Nordic culinary in the traditional dishes of five countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. ScandAsia reporter has a talk with the chef.

What brings you to Vietnam and why at New World Saigon?
I have long been told much about the beauty and hospitality of Vietnam but without an opportunity to visit it. By the introduction of an old friend working in a hotel of Marriott group in Kuala Lumpur that has organised a Nordic culinary festival, New World Saigon hotel invited me to participate in the festival. It is why I am here at the hotel and introduce Nordic traditional foods.

Could you explain the Nordic tastes and your messages in them?
The long and cold winter in Nordic countries does not allow fresh foods. Most of traditional foods are smoked or frozen with special ingredients.
     The Nordic culinary festival is a good idea. It provides a chance for cultural exchanges, especially in culinary. I wish to share with Vietnamese and foreign friends Nordic traditional foods such as Sherry Herring, Bleakroe Eggs (Sweden), Smoked Salmon, Smoked Reindeer (Norway), Smoked White Bait (Finland), Smoked Eal, Danish Salami (Denmark), Arctic Sea Shrimps, Smoked Legs of Lamp (Iceland), and delicious appetisers, hearty soups, crispy salads, crepe Station with ice-cream and fruits and other mouth-watering desserts. By this festival I wish to make Vietnamese friends understand more about our culture, land and people, bringing us even closer under the common house of the world.

Have you tried some Vietnamese foods and how do you find them?
Each region has its own culinary. The abundance of dishes is always perfect examples of special and diversified culinary culture. I have been told of Vietnamese Pho, Cha gio but have no chance to taste them. But I have already tried some delicious and colourful dishes of Vietnam.

How do you find Vietnam and its people, what impress you most?
I have a very beautiful impression on Vietnam. Vietnamese are very hospitable and friendly. My colleagues at New World Saigon hotel always smile with me and enliven me with cheerful questions. My special impression is Cay to bay mon (tender dog meat in seven dishes). I had it for the first time in my life. It is very good.

Culinary art is always the passion of the famous 34 year-old Swedish chef, Karl Jonas Grip. Graduated from the Restaurant School, Stockholm Sweden and the Swedish Restaurant Academy, he has worked as chef for many famous hotels and restaurants in Sweden, Russia, Australia such as Grand hotel, Scandic Crown hotel, restaurant Wedholms Kott, restaurant Ulla Winbladh, restaurant Greitz, restaurant KB, Marite’ Sail Ship Charter, Vasa Museum restaurant, and Sheraton Perth hotel, Miss Maud Swedish Restaurant, and now Scandinavia restaurant. His Scandinavian dishes always satisfy the most fastidious table companions.

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