The Food & Fun festival began in Reykjavík last night. An annual event now in its 17th year, Food & Fun brings guest chefs from around the world to Reykjavík to collaborate with local restaurants in a five day spree of parties, receptions and pop-up menus.
The launch event was held at the Kópavogur Culinary College, where the founders of the festival gave speeches alongside Iceland’s minister for Tourism and Industry, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, and Björn Blöndal from the mayor’s office. Both were keen to express the importance of the festival’s role in bringing new ideas and fresh perspectives to Iceland’s restaurant scene.
A well-timed opening event was held on the same evening at Hotel Holt, where the house restaurant is receiving an infusion of new ideas from the Kex organisation, under the guidance of Ragnar Eiríksson, former head chef of the Michelin-starred Dill eatery. The gathering included a wide range of familiar faces, from the original architect of Hotel Holt, to a throng of Reykjavík foodies.
One of the picks of the Food & Fun festival is a collaboration between the acclaimed Westman Islands Slippurinn Eatery and Leif Sørensen, one of the founders of the Michelin-starred Faroese restaurant Koks.
In the crisp and minimal dining room at Bergsson’s Grandi location, the two chefs collaborated on a menu influenced by their complementary philosophies and approaches. Both use locally sourced ingredients, and food preserved via traditional methods, as the foundation for an authentic and regionally specific spin on fine dining. In this instance, Leif chose the main flavour pairings, with Gísli providing input on how best to achieve his ideas using seasonal Icelandic ingredients.
The collaboration tossed up some interesting anomalies; most glaringly, in the use of pork as an entrée. Iceland takes great pride in the quality of its lamb, and so it was refreshing to see on the menu a course of braised, pressed and then pan-fried pork belly with a garnish of shaved scratchings. A coarsely chopped beef tartare was seasoned with elderflower, an ingredient common to other Nordic countries, but rarely used in Iceland. The cod came slow-cooked with seaweed salt and garnished with sea truffles—an ingredient that Leif helped introduce to the fine dining world.
With fantastic wine pairings and flawless service, it was a night to remember. Food & Fun gives foodies a chance to taste something a little out of the Reykjavík ordinary: grab it while you can.