What Have We Won?: Valhalla’s Kitchen - The Reykjavik Grapevine

What Have We Won?: Valhalla’s Kitchen

What Have We Won?: Valhalla’s Kitchen

Published February 1, 2019

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photos by
Einar Bárðarson

On November 26th, Iceland proved to the world once and for all that their cuisine is way more than just fermented shark and firm yoghurt. With one hot meal, the country shook the world, wowing tastebuds internationally and grabbing the gold medal at the 2018 Culinary World Cup. Suck it, Denmark. 

“The all-star team served up what is essentially the most Icelandic meal ever created that doesn’t include a Prince Polo or Brennivín.”

Iceland 4eva

The competition entailed preparing a three-course dinner for 110 people. Deciding upon a cod starter, lamb entrée, and skyr for desert, the all-star team served up what is essentially the most Icelandic meal ever created that doesn’t include a Prince Polo or Brennivín.

Under the leadership of president Björn Bragi Bragason, the team was composed of a diverse group of culinary artists deriving from such eateries as Fiskfélagið and Jamie’s Italian. “We are incredibly pleased with this result, as we have been preparing for this for 18 months,” Björn said in a statement after the team’s big win. “Despite some unexpected events that arose, we have proven here today that the Icelandic national culinary team is amongst the best in the world.”

Culinary controversy

The unexpected events Björn is referring to amount to a minor culinary scandal. Only months before the competition, the team discovered that one of their sponsors was Arnarlax, a fish farming company. Many chefs, understandably, were morally opposed to the ecologically devastating practise and fourteen chefs promptly resigned from the team.

Eventually, though, the club ended their relationship with Arnarlax and calm was restored. And thank Cod for that.

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