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Michelin Releases Its 2020 Guide to Nordic Countries

Alchemist, the Copenhagen restaurant that serves one dish on a realistic model of a human tongue, received two stars

A winding bar with digital art of trees and mountains on a back wall
Søren Gammelmark Photography/Alchemist

Michelin Guide released its 2020 guide for Nordic countries, which include Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Last year’s guide featured 64 restaurants across the region, including perpetual favorite Noma, which retained two stars, and Norway’s RE-NAA. This year, there are seven new one-star restaurants and four new two-star restaurants.

Copenhagen’s Alchemist, which recently went viral for a dish served on a realistic human tongue model, was given two stars. Opened last summer, the “holistic dining experience” immediately gained a reputation for its inventive plating and visuals, which delighted some and totally grossed out others. The restaurant serves a meal of “50 impressions” which lasts between three and five hours, and includes dishes like foie gras served in what looks like a severed human head, various edibles made to look like squeezes of paint, and the “Tongue Kiss” dish, from which diners are invited to lick a topping off a realistic tongue. The restaurant specifies it is not “the right choice for an evening of business discussions or that first nervous date” (sorry, Dan).

Other two-star restaurants are Jordnær, RE-NAA and Aloë, which were all promoted from one star. Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides, says, “While they are all very different, what they share is a real passion for sourcing and seasonality.” There is also a new one-star restaurant in Finland, one in Iceland, one in Sweden, and four in Norway.

There are now only two restaurants in the region with three stars. Copenhagen’s Geranium and Stockholm’s Frantzén maintained that distinction. But Oslo’s Maaemo closed in December, and according to Dagbladet, is opening in a new location, thus giving up its stars. However, given that Maaemo is re-opening with largely the same staff, some critics argue that Michelin should allow the restaurant to maintain its three-star ranking. “They should keep the stars, but it’s a bit unclear. But, even though they move, they have pretty much the same team, so I think they keep all three,” said Mikael Svensson, chef at one-starred Kontrast. As of now, Maaemo isn’t listed on Michelin’s site.

The French tire company also announced its awards for the Nordic region, with Tina Kragh Vildgaard of Jordnær receiving the Welcome & Service Award, and Rasmus Kofoed of Geranium, and a mainstay of the Bocuse D’or, winning the Chef Mentor Award. Magnus Ek of Stockholm’s Oaxen Krog and Oaxen Slip received the sustainability award, part of Michelin’s new sustainability designation to highlight restaurants that make great efforts toward being environmentally friendly. You can read the full list of new winners here.

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