You surely can’t plan for everything – especially when your airline company is called SAS, Scandinavian Airlines. A 15 hours delay meant no Hallo Hello for me and a rather abrupt start to NORTH Festival 2014. But in the end, everything was good …

Let me first get this out so we can move on to the pleasant stuff: SAS sucks big, big time! Not only was I not told about the 15 hour departure change until the moment I was asked to check in online and saw that my direct flight had been changes to a non-direct flight one day later than my original booking. On top of that SAS doesn’t have a costumer service telephone number! WTF?! You can only fill out an online form – and only after you have returned from the entire trip, meaning they have no intention of giving you any reimbursement on the actual trip. Oh, and did I say that if you fill out any of the boxes not marked with a red star (*) the system will automatically delete the entire form and you have to start over? Nice one, SAS.

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OKAY, with that said, I’ve had the best time in NYC. Day one started with a fancy cocktail party at the NORTH Pop Up Space (the Old Bowery Station). So many cool people gathered in one location, delicious (but not that much) food and free drinks from Pasternak Wine, Rekorderlig Cider and Brooklyn Brewery. I didn’t last long though – jet lag is a bitch!

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The weekend was all about cooking classes and cooking demos at the International Culinary Center in SoHo and the Nordic Street Food Festival at Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg. A LOT of things happening at the same time! Unfortunately I was stuck sorting through all of the groceries at ICC, so I didn’t get to experience any of the cooking classes or demos.

However, Sunday I was so fortunate to experience the Faroese pop up dinner “A Faroese Fairytale” presented by Solea Faroe Islands – one of the dinners I had been looking forward to the most. To my disappointment it didn’t involve anything fermented, but is was never the less a amazing meal. Let me tell you about the salmon – OH MY GOOD, it melted on my tongue. Raw, perfectly smooth, fat and fresh. Leif Sørensen (on the top left picture) founder of Restaurant Koks and Ruben Maarbjerg Busk of Hotel Hafnia was the brilliant chefs behind this dinner. Sorry about the weird colors. I was sitting right next to a very blue lamp.

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Next one up was the Finish pop up dinner “An evening in Helsinki” presented by Visit Helsinki performed by the amazing and very charming chef Sasu Laukkonen of Restaurant Chef & Sommelier. I’ll remember his dessert, which was actually the healthiest dish of the entire meal, for a long time. It consisted of cinnamon roasted carrot with lemon verbena, sea buckthorn and apple. Yay, it was so good! I love when chefs dare to use ingredients that we normally associate with savory dishes in sweet dishes.
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The above dish made me pop the question to a guy I at that point had only known for about 2 days and who wasn’t (and isn’t) by boyfriend. Frederik Andersson is his name and he is the Head Chef of Gothia Towers in Sweden. His partner in crime, Frida Ronge of vRÅ, did however also get a special place in my heart with her signature dish halibut sashimi style with browned yuzu butter, pickled onion and bleak roe. Check out #TrySwedish+#NORTH2014 on Mixagram to get a sneak peak of the dinner.

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Last but not least was the Danish pop up dinner “Malling & Schmidt” presented by FOOD and Visit Denmark and performed by the one and only Thorsten Schmidt of Malling & Schmidt and Ruths Hotel. Thorsten is definitely one of my idols and I was kind of star struck at first. That was until I actually met Thorsten and found that he is one of the most down to earth and pleasant celebrity chefs I have ever met. You cannot take Jutland out of that man and I’ll shoot you if you try!

Thorsten’s menu was very simple, but challenged many of, especially the American, guests palates and eating habits. One of the first servings was potatoes boiled and served with roasted hay and eaten with your hands. Some loved it, some actually stood up and left and some was just very confused about whether they were supposed to eat the hay or not. You can see the potato dish here on Thorsten’s Instagram.

The handsome fellow next to Thorsten on the picture above is Carl Kristian Frederiksen the NORTH Sous Chef and former Head Chef of former Aamann’s Copenhagen (now The Copenhagen) in NYC. Carl rocked the NORTH Pop Up kitchen all week and assisted the brilliant guest chefs on every pop up dinner.
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THANK YOU for a amazing week of NORTH Festival 2014 in my favorite city! I’ve had the best time, eaten soooo much good, great and amazing food – All in the best company of very cool personalities and a lot of new friends.

Psst! Check out #NORTH2014.