Astrid Nässlander and Halvar Ellingsen are two top-tier Head Chefs who live and work on the Norwegian coast. They’re bringing their specialist knowledge of short-travelled ingredients and their own individual brand of culinary flair to our menus.
Right now, there’s an exciting food renaissance underway in Norway. Rather than relying on exotic imports, Norwegian restaurants throughout the country are rediscovering, celebrating, and reinventing the cooking traditions and bountiful ingredients that are just on our doorstep.
If the ingredients are ‘short travelled’, so too is the talent. Head Chef Astrid Nässlander and Head Chef Halvar Ellingsen both hail from the Norwegian coast in Northern Norway. Through conscientious cooking, they each champion local suppliers as well as organic and sustainable ingredients to create exceptional gastronomic experiences.
Working with Norway’s Coastal Kitchen
As part of a new project led by Norway’s Coastal Kitchen Head Chef Øistein Nilsen, we are excited to partner with Culinary Ambassadors Astrid and Halvar to design a range of new seasonal dishes unique to our onboard restaurants. These dishes will use local ingredients to showcase the rich flavours of each of Norway’s seasons.
The two innovators will also have a hand in inspiring the next generation of Norway’s Coastal Kitchen chefs. Through a dedicated trainee programme, Astrid and Halvar will foster a new wave of talented cooks, even selecting the best candidates to participate in the prestigious Norges Cup, Norway’s national competition for culinary apprentices.
National Chef Prize Winner for Sustainability
Founder of Høst Matverksted, Steigen
“What drives me is the urge to show people what we have around us, and that it’s possible to source food differently than just going to the supermarket. It’s old-fashioned common sense to get milk from a dairy farmer or meat from a moose hunter.
I’m good at adapting to what ingredients are available and in season. It’s almost like the less I have, the more creative I get. So, I can easily design dishes without imported vegetables.
I like to describe my approach to cooking with the term "retrovation", meaning looking back when developing the future. So putting both new and old methods and techniques to work, we get an interesting pantry as a starting point for cooking.
I’m very excited and curious to see what we can achieve together when a venerable and established brand like The Coastal Express meets my young ambitious brand. I’m in it for the local food with sustainable production methods as the foundation.”
🠖Read the interview with Astrid
National Culinary Champion
Head Chef at Kvitnes, Vesterålen
“I lived and cooked in Oslo for ten years before moving back home to cook at Kvitnes, my family’s farm in Vesterålen, six years ago. I wanted to get back in touch with ingredients as the star of the show again, to prove what short-travelled, sustainable food really is in practice, and how far you can go with it.
I think The Coastal Express has done a fantastic job in being responsible and conscientious when it comes to local food. Hats off!
As a young boy, I would hear the whistle of The Coastal Express ships just before half past one every day. It was a natural part of growing up on the coast. Even now, we have goods delivered to our restaurant from the ships every single week.
I’m really looking forward to having fun working together, giving guests on the ships food that not only tastes great but also connects them more to the areas they travel to.”