Head Chef at the TreeTop Restaurant: Our ambitions are as high as the view is unique
This fall Nicolaj Christiansen started as new Head Chef in the famous gourmet restaurant TreeTop at Vejle Fjord in Jutland, Denmark. We have talked with him about TreeTop and his ambitions for the restaurant.
Beautifully located between the tree tops and with a unique view of Vejle Fjord, you will find TreeTop Restaurant – Munkebjerg Hotel’s gourmet restaurant. Recently, the restaurant got a new chef, Nicolaj Christiansen, and we have met him to hear a little more about the food and the ambitions in the Treetop Restaurant.
How would you like to describe the food at TreeTop?
“At TreeTop the food is inspired by what the whole world has to offer. The simple Nordic expression and the classic French taste play a big part in the kitchen, but we will not lock ourselves to anything. Basically, we really just cook food based on what tastes good, what looks good, what’s in season and what the local suppliers have to offer – simple and good!”
Which dish are you most proud of right now?
“The dish I’m most proud of right now is our serving with lobster, calf tail, pickles and lobster foam flavored with long pepper. It is kind of ‘Surf’n’Turf’ with the calf and the seafood and then it has a little acid and sweetness from the pickles that fits very well with the powerful ragout made on calves and the more delicate and sweet lobster. And then it is topped with this lobster foam, which is really a classic lobster bisque that has a twist with the long pepper – the composition is just great. ”
Where do you get her inspiration?
“The forest and the surrounding nature are always the first place I seek my inspiration. From the large panoramic windows in the restaurant you have a direct view of the forest and the fjord, which is really beautiful and inspiering”.
“Next, the Treetop Restaurant is located at a hotel, Munkebjerg Hotel, which has been around for more than 50 years now. This means that it’s a place with a lot of history and therefore I also often try to integrate the hotel’s many stories into the food. ”
“Last but certainly not least, I get a lot of inspiration from our local producers. For instance we work a lot with the local organic horticulture, Rødmose Gartneri. They have some amazing fruits and vegetables, that our dishes are often based on. Currently, for example, we have a dish made of cucumber, caviar, skyr and creme fraiche. The core of the dish is all the wonderful different cucumbers we get from Rødmose Gartneri and it’s really a kind of tribute to our amazing producers and suppliers. ”
What ambitions do you have for Tree-Top?
“Our ambitions are towering: We want to be at the top and we will do everything to develop and stay at the top. It is super cool and motivating to be part of all the fantastic guides – and it’s no secret that we are certainly striving for a Michelin star. But it will mean at least as much to be respected in the Danish guides, such as Den Danske Spiseguide. ”
“Having said that, it is the most important factor for us is that our guests are happy. If our guests are happy and experience that they get good, tasty food and value for money, then we are happy too. ”
What is the special thing about the TreeTop Restaurant?
“Part of what is special about us is that we are a very young team. This means that we have a slightly different and youthful approach to both life and work. For example, we do not have kids and families who need our attention at home, so we are spending an enormous amount of time in the kitchen. We think it’s fun and exciting and we have a constant desire to move forward and get even better all the time. Our youthful mentality means, in short, that our enthusiasm and courage are insurmountable and it is undoubtedly one of our great strengths.”