Food & Drink
Geranium becomes Denmark’s first three star restaurant
The 2016 Nordic edition of the French-based Michelin Guide, published on 24 February, gave its prized three-star rating to just two Scandinavian restaurants, Maaemo in Oslo and Geranium in Copenhagen, which became the first restaurant in Denmark to receive the top Michelin marks.
Geranium’s head chef Rasmus Kofoed is no stranger to awards. His restaurant has been ranked among the top 50 in the world and received its first Michelin star in 2012 and a second the year later. Kofoed has also received bronze, silver and gold medals in one of international cooking’s top competitions, the Bocuse d’Or.
When Scandinavian Traveler met him a couple of months ago however, Kofoed was reluctant to predict how many stars Geranium would be awarded in 2016.
“It is just daft to count on getting a certain number of stars. You won't be happy when you finally get them,” He said, before adding “But when we were awarded our second star in 2013, we hadn't expected it at all, so it felt extra special.”
Kofoed is very aware of the importance of prizes and awards in attracting diners. But gaining such recognition is not his priority these days. “I would be lying if I said that awards are not important but they don't mean as much to me today as they used to do. I would rather develop the restaurant and personnel, make sure that we get better every day and improve at what we do. And ensure that we are always thinking, ‘how can we give our guests a good experience.’”
“I would be lying if I said that awards are not important but they don't mean as much to me today as they used to do."
The removal from the kitchen of his three Bocuse d’Or statuettes illustrates this point.
“After four years I felt it was time they were moved from the kitchen, to show that I am not resting on my laurels,” Kofoed said.
But the third Michelin star was worth pursuing. “Naturally, you should always be hungry for more but having said that, you must be realistic when it comes to your level of ambition,” he said. “There are plenty of Danish chefs who have striven for a third star without succeeding and given up. You have to realize it takes time and demands blood, sweat and tears. For me, the Michelin Guide had been the holy grail, one of the finest things you could achieve, so naturally it is fantastic when you get such recognition in the form of a Michelin star.”
Kofoed has a wife and two small children and wants to prioritize life outside the kitchen and have time to meet guests and look after his staff. But it seems he may never be one for resting on his laurels. “It is not as though I spend every day thinking about the Michelin Guide. I am thinking about the dishes I am not satisfied with and how they can be elevated to further heights.”
Text: Anna-Lena Ahlberg
Take a sneak peak into Geranium with this slideshow
Published: September 8, 2016