Perfectly fluent in English and cheffage, Bocuse d'Or winner Hakon Mar Orvarsson got off Icelandair's Flight 681 from Reykjavik at 5 o'clock Monday night with a supply of Icelandic hardfiskur (hard-fish), black rye bread, lump fish caviar and dried spaces. The rest of his provisions had been shipped ahead by air freight: 450 pounds of fresh salmon, arctic char, and free-range lamb, By 8:30 Tuesday morning he was on the line at Staple and Fancy, unpacking product, wielding his knives and blending dried seaweed flakes into a homemade mayonnaise for the cod and potato fritters he'll be serving through Saturday.
The $45 promotional menu is called "A Taste of Iceland," a collaboration with locals Ethan Stowell and Branden Karow (exec chef at Staple & Fancy). There's a cascade of familiar fare along with a unique Icelandic dessert based on skyr, a yogurt-like cheese that Chef Hakon will flavor with oats, hazelnuts, cinnamon and red currants.
Icelandair started flying the nonstop Reykhjavik route in July, and this is the first culinary tie-in sponsored by IcelandNaturally . Sure, we've got salmon, cod and lamb of our own here in the Northwest, but, the visiting chef explains, the whole point is to bring Iceland's flavors to Seattle.
The promotion showcases Iceland's "phenomenal" produce: fish plucked from the cold North Atlantic waters, meat from free range lambs that graze in the Icelandic mountains all summer long.
Orvarsson is on the road a lot these days as a spokesman for Iceland's food producers; he was in Denver last month and flies from here to Tokyo for a joint promotion with other Scandinavian chefs.
"Ours is a young food culture," he told Cornichon. "but our geographic isolation means we have some of the purest ingredients on the planet."
More from the Iceland promotion here.