Restaurant Geranium and its most Celebrated Chef

Geranium is probably the most celebrated restaurant in Copenhagen, since gaining its third Michelin Star and being ranked number 19 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017. The weekend we caught up with Chef Rasmus Kofoed was coincidentally the same weekend of the Copenhagen Food Festival, and when he shared his kitchen with two other top-ranked female chefs – Dominique Crenn and Anne Sophie-Pic.

Despite his busy schedule, Chef Kofoed took time out to share his story and favourite food haunts in Copenhagen with Aspire Lifestyles.

Aspire Lifestyles: Can you tell us the latest news with the restaurant since the summer break?

Chef Kofoed: We just opened after the summer break and are catching up with the new season. There’s so much happening out there and a good time for us to update our menus and methods. We’ve also been working closely with our farm, Kiselgården, one that focuses on a biodynamic philosophy. We have been partnering with the farmers since the opening of Geranium, but are now experimenting more with different things such as different types of potatoes or leaving the vegetables to sprout just so we can see what things might happen.

Aspire Lifestyles: That’s very interesting! So is there anything coming from the farm that you are excited to use in your upcoming menu?

Chef Kofoed: Yes for sure. We have been using their ingredients for a long time, and now we see the sprouting cauliflower and broccoli from the field with interesting textures and are very great for grilling.

Aspire Lifestyles: How would you describe Geranium to someone who’s new to the restaurant?

Chef Kofoed: I would say we are similar to the flower, and that’s why we chose the name Geranium. Because it is a plant and a plant is alive, I see the restaurant continually growing as a living being. We are always trying to keep it updated with each season and in synergy with the special location we are in. There’s also a great energy in the restaurant, because even though it is an open kitchen, we stay in close contact with the guests.

The Geranium plant is very green and our key menu is mainly plant-based. I think that had a lot to do with my childhood as I was the oldest of 4 siblings and my mother was a vegetarian and a great cook. That was how I grew to love vegetables and wild plants from a young age.

Aspire Lifestyles: There are so many great chefs in Copenhagen who are also doing exciting things with vegetables. Why do you think that is so?

Chef Kofoed: There aren’t many vegetarian restaurants but you will always find lots of vegetables featured on their menus. I think this is because it’s very delicate, healthy and light and also, it represents the New Nordic philosophy. It also doesn’t mean that without having any meat, you will lose out on strong flavours because you can do a lot with plants too…by adding umami flavours such as from reduced vegetable stock. That is my personal favourite, when we grill the vegetables and reduce that liquid and then finish with a touch of brown butter. That tastes so refreshing and good at the same time.

Aspire Lifestyles: Since we’re on the topic, what’s your favourite vegetable?

Chef Kofoed: I love Cep Mushrooms when it’s in season. I really can get high on finding them! It’s a very special vegetable and we do a really beautiful Cep Mushroom based sauce that we use in our dishes.

Aspire Lifestyles: What’s it like having a restaurant at Denmark’s national soccer stadium?

Chef Kofoed: I chose this location because you see so much outside of the window – the tree crowns, the skyline, the houses and the park with activities all the time. From the kitchen, you can watch the soccer field and once a year I will get all the local chefs together and we will have a friendly game.

Despite the constant flurry of activity at the stadium, I think the guests will sometimes forget where they are when they are in the restaurant. The space and cuisine allows for guests to fully immerse in the creativity and food during their dining experience.

Aspire Lifestyles: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Chef Kofoed: My inspiration really comes from the ingredients I have to work with and I would say, nature. Just in preparation for the chef collaboration tomorrow, we had to work on a completely new dish we had never served before with the Nasturtium plant. The name itself is beautiful and I like the sound of it. We are pairing this onion flavoured plant with some smoked langoustine, sheep’s cream and aromatic flowers like zucchini to balance out the flavours.

For the plating, we are going to design it how the plant grows in nature, seemingly finding its way upwards towards the sunlight and sky. I like the positive attitude that it has and respect its natural state.

Aspire Lifestyles: Before we go, could you tell us some of your favourite places to eat at in Copenhagen?

Chef Kofoed: There are so many good restaurants here. I would say Christian Puglisi’s Bæst is great for pizzas and mozzarella, not the healthiest but it’s good! Whenever I’m with my kids in the area, we will usually pop by, as it is also near a very good playground with animals like sheep, goats and chickens.

Barr Restaurant, at the old Noma location, opened by my really good friend, Thorsten Schmidt also does really good traditional Nordic food that I would like to visit again.

I also eat a lot at a farm near my house because I just moved north, close to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is a must-visit for visitors to the city because it is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The farm sells vegetables to the locals and the produce is great. It’s almost like a park as well because people can buy their cheese, food and have a picnic right there!

*Photo credit: Claes Bech-Poulsen