At a dinner on Søllerød Kro a couple of days ago Den Danske Spiseguide 2013 (The Danish Eating Out Guide) picked this years winners in a number of categories, including Best Restaurant in Denmark. And the winner was Frederikshoj Kro, nær Århus with Wassim Hallal in the kitchen and as owner. The Danish press has been writing for a long time about Frederikshoj Kro withgreat excitement and has now been given the highest scores. So the number 1 position as best restaurant in Denmark was not entirely surprising.
Wassim Hallal is of Lebanese origin but has grown up in Denmark and his food reflects very much a fresh and unorthodox approach to the best ingredients Denmark can offer. And simplicity. One of his recipes – presented in the Danish gourmet magazine Gastro – is soup of cauliflower with almonds. Its basically a head of cauliflower simmered in chicken stock with onions and garlic, and blended with milk and cream. It is served with fried cauliflower and rosted almonds and chervil. A perfect match, yet so simple.
So in other words, Denmark is not only NOMA. Rather the opposite now a days, because NOMA has contributed to making it possible for other Danish chefs to experiment and develop. The whole development has meant, that restaurants of very high quality can open also outside of Copenhagen and still survive. They will not get a Michelin star, because Michelin only rates in Copenhagen, but they can be selected as best restaurant in Denmark by their colleagues.
Rene Redzepi from NOMA was not forgotten though, as he was made an icon in Danish gastronomy, the highest honour given by Den Danske Spiseguide.
Wassim Hallal has made a couple of cook books, so far only available in Danish.