Chef Ming Tsai Finds Inspiration at Oslo’s Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children

In the final installment of this four-part series, Chef Ming Tsai heads to Oslo, Norway, where he meets home cook and food writer Andreas Viestad and tours Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children, a space that focuses on educating children and family on making good choices in eating habits and being responsible co-producers in the food chain.

Chef Ming Tsai heads to Norway’s capital, Oslo, for his fourth and final stop to visit Geitmyra Culinary Center for Children, a nonprofit organization committed to helping children make better food choices. Andreas Viestad, Norwegian food writer and TV chef, opened the culinary center in 2011 to teach children about food. The children learn where their food comes from, how to grow it and how to cook it, which in turn creates better eating habits and expands their palate.

Chef Ming and Andreas tour the culinary center, picking fresh ingredients like apples, which they will utilize in a few different ways. Andreas uses fresh-pressed apple juice to put a Nordic spin on a classic cocktail—Farm Apple Kir Royale. Meanwhile, Chef Ming decides the acidity of the apple will complement the oily richness of his mackerel dish.

Norwegian Mackerel is a rich-tasting, succulent fish. Norwegian Mackerel has long been favored around the world, especially in Asian countries, for its flavorful, firm meat and high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel has numerous health benefits—it’s  a good source of vitamins D and B12, protein, calcium, potassium and iron. Also referred to as saba, Norwegian Mackerel can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Today, Andreas and Chef Ming are showcasing two popular preservation techniques to prepare their mackerel. Norwegians have always relied on food preservation, such as pickling, drying, curing and smoking, in order to survive the long winters.

“We tea-smoked the mackerel to allow the flavors to come through nicely, while still highlighting the quality of the fish. As a chef, you don’t have to do much to the fish to let it shine and taste delicious, which truly speaks to the high quality of the fish.” —Chef Ming Tsai

Immense care is taken to ensure Norwegian Mackerel is of the highest quality. Distinguished by its sharp, vivid tiger stripes, Norwegian Mackerel is wild-caught using the purse seine method in the cold, clear waters of Norway. They can be found in large coastal shoals as well as in the Skagerrak, the North Sea and the South Norwegian Sea. Norwegian Mackerel caught in the fall season (the premium catch period) have an abundance of healthy fat content, a distinguishing characteristic that results in a tastier, more-succulent product. This is when Norwegian Mackerel are at their best.