It was 2009 when Sven Erik Renaa opened his eponymous restaurant in the Norwegian region of Stavenger. After working in some of the best kitchens in the world, he chose the forest, the mountains and the fjords of Norway to refine his particular technique of nature deconstruction. The Michelin Guide awarded his cuisine with one star. He brings along his Italian origins, on his father’s side, as well as the passion for conviviality, which is not only culinary, but also social and human.
Mr. Renaa, part of your family was Italian: is there something that you bring along from the culinary tradition of our country?
“In the Bistrot and in the Gelateria, there is definitely the Italian taste of my childhood memories. The greatest legacy comes from my grandparents, when they were all together, gathered in the joy of sharing around the table”.
What was the biggest challenge with Re-Naa?
“The challenges were many, starting from the economic one. Then, the wish to find the right staff. However, the greatest challenge of all is the time that restoration requires, which means less time for family and children. I am continuously stimulated: I live in contact with farmers and fishermen, surrounded by nature”.
Norway, along with the other Scandinavian countries, has become a key destination for haute cuisine lovers. Where are we heading?
“In the past, the concept of Nordic cuisine has never aroused great interest. I focus on the change that is taking place, the same that is allowing us Nordic chefs to have an increasingly strong voice and many more customers”.
Does the Michelin Guide help in the enhancement of Scandinavian catering?
“Yes, and there is still a lot to be achieved. Before it was not so. Today things have changed for the better and the Guide to the North has finally taken the place of excellence that deserved.”
Nature and its “deconstructionism” are important concepts for your cuisine. Can you provide us with a more precise interpretation?
“By the term deconstruction I mean the study and collection of products from the woods, forests and the ocean that surround me. I strip them down to their essence. Then, I reinterpret them, by combining them with my creativity’s desires. I always keep the taste and consistency of the raw material intact “.
The essential ingredients in your kitchen?
“Seafood from the west coast of Norway, Hallingskarvet butter, vegetables, herbs and fruit from Brimse Island”.