Eric Vildgaard and Tina Kragh Vildgaard, the two souls of restaurant Jordnær in Denmark
Inside a small hotel in Gentofte, around 12 km north of Copenhagen, you can enjoy an experience that passes through the eyes and goes straight to the heart. The name of the restaurant is already a prelude of poetry that starts from a story that illustrates how far you can get if you put love in every single step of the way.
And so Jordnær, which means “with the feet on the ground”, tells of the roots of a Nordic cuisine that surprises and charms in a unique way. A cuisine that touches us from within.
Jordnær is the mirror of two unique and authentic souls, charismatic 38-year-old chef Eric Vildgaard and wonderful wife and restaurant manager, maître and co-founder, Tina Kragh Vildgaard who also received the Michelin Nordic Welcome & Service Award: a magical pair united in marriage, as a family and in their culinary dream so that with their efforts they have become one of the realities of which people are talking with the strongest enthusiasm on the island of Sjælland in Denmark.
The experience at Jordnær starts even before arriving at the restaurant, with the email that Tina sends to confirm the booking and which makes you dive right away into a fantastic world: «You will now be part of our love story, a love story through which we will take you on a journey of flavours and we will introduce you to nature through the best products it can offer».
As Eric and Tina say, for Jordnær the meaning and the idea of culinary experience is about being close to nature, being humble in front of it, in every aspect. Culinary sustainability is crucial: from organic beetroot to sustainable caviar and seafood, wild herbs and fish just caught in the nearby lake of Arresø.
The décor is minimal and in perfect Scandinavian style, but despite this, you can perceive from the very first moment the soul of a place and of the people who consider it as their home. Sparkling Tina welcomes guests with her huge smile and her gestures wrap any visitor with light and beauty.
The story of Eric was all but easy. Before getting his first two Michelin stars, the chef had been a gang member, a past of crime and drugs, but despite this, his inner strength, his determination and innate talent led him to find peace, calm and balance in the kitchen. At 13, after an episode of crime, he was punished and forced to acquire experience on a commercial ship on the coast of Denmark. Being incredibly bored, and without anything to do, he prepared a cake for the crew with the few ingredients he found. He received huge praise and for the first time, he felt he was appreciated and thought this would be the right road for him to take.
A view of the dining room
Less than 5 years ago they sold Tina’s diamond ring and Rolex watch to buy the plates and glasses for their dining room and start their adventure. All that they have conquered, they have done it themselves, centimetre after centimetre, day after day until they got the first star in 2017 only 9 months after opening, and the second in 2020. They are now 38th in the World’s 50 Best.
At Jordnær man and cook become symbiotic, they mirror each other, give strength to one another and fertile space for endless creativity through a constantly-evolving language. The menu includes 18 courses with the possibility of adding a very interesting selection of wine pairings – we chose Because everything is better with Champagne which includes 7 champagnes from classic maisons and small unique producers.
Friskost cheese, aromatic herbs
Royal crab, clams, Jerusalem artichoke
Lobster, Sansho pepper, trout roe
Balfegò tuna, Platinum caviar, Shoyu
Rose-shaped waffle, Ossetra Royal caviar, Fiord prawns
Scallops, roses, white currants
Langoustine essence, Marinda tomato, olive oil
Prawns, horseradish, dill
Ossetra Imperial caviar, walnut
Hamachi, sesame, ponzu
Calamari, almond, galanga
Bread & Butter
Lobster, Yuzu, koji
Langø cod, truffe, Vin Jaune
Sheep’s milk, sorrel, canola
Yuzu, Miyagawa,Sichuan pepper
Vanilla, milk, honey
White truffle, walnut, chocolate
NV Ruppert-Leroy, 11-12-13, Essoyes
2010 Drappier, Grande Sendrèe Rosè, Urville
2017 Pierre Paillard, Les Mottelettes, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs, Bouzy
NV Leclere Minard, La Traume Noire, Tramery
2014 Lacourte Godbillon, Parcellaire Chaillots, Blanc de Noirs, Ecueil
NV Bereche et Fils, Reflet D’Antan, Ludes
2011 Andrè Beaufort, Demi-Sec, Polisy
Restaurant Jordnær Gentoftegade 29
M: + 45 22408020
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
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