“In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous”: this quote from the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, also represents the guiding principle of AOC. The philosophy of the restaurant is deeply rooted in nature and the region, from which Søren Selin and his team select the best products and then put a great deal of effort into pro- cessing them in line with his “pure flavour concept”. The top priorities of this are the respect for nature and the ingredients coupled with a modern approach and the use of innovative technologies.
Selin took up his post as head chef in the kitchen at AOC in 2013. His vast amounts of previous experience wor- king at the Parisian Michelin-starred restaurants Le Relais Louis XIII and Jules Verne as well as at Alberto K in Copenhagen, where he also spent four years working as the Executive Chef for all of the culinary establishments within the classy Hotel Royal, make him the perfect successor to Ronny Emborg, who had already cooked his way to a Michelin star for AOC by this time.
“I’m fully aware that AOC is already amongst the absolute top restaurants in Denmark”, says Selin, “however it is my clear aim to elevate the restaurant to an even higher level”. An ambitious plan that he looks likely to achieve in an impressive manner: in 2015, AOC was awarded its second star in the Michelin Guide, making it one of only three restaurants in Denmark to have achieved this honour, putting it on a par with René Redzepi’s Noma and Rasmus Kofoed’s Geranium.
Søren Selin is constantly striving to stimulate as many senses as possible with his dishes. This involves placing the flavours, appearance, colours and odours at the forefront of the taste sensation. To achieve this, he uses only fresh Nordic products from the land and the sea, the subtle and elegant flavours of which are paired together in perfect harmony with classic and natural wines selected from all over the world by sommelier and AOC owner, Christian Aarø.
The guests can choose to experience this exciting interplay of food and wine through either a seven course or a ten course menu. During the week, AOC also offers a five course menu. These comprise iconic dishes that more than deliver on the promise of a complete work of art for the senses. “I place a great deal of importance on the presen- tation of my dishes”, explains Selin. “As far as I’m concerned, a dish shouldn’t just be delicious, it should also be beautiful and surprising. A perfectly presented dish tastes better, as it stimulates the guests’ senses”.
This is evidenced by the creation that includes plums, red beetroot and liquorice – the contrast between fiery red and noble black, served on a matching plate, is not just delicious, it is also presented like a true masterpiece. Or how about the chargrilled Jerusalem artichoke with roasted hazelnuts that impresses with its salted caramel crust and exciting smoky notes.
A critic wrote the following about AOC: “This restaurant is leading New Nordic Cuisine from punk to aristocracy”, and in doing so really hit the nail on the head when it comes to identifying what it is that makes this Copenhagen wine cellar one of the most promising venues for international haute cuisine: the respectful way in which the products are handled, the quiet modesty of the service staff, the earnestness with which the subject of food is broached here and of course the stringent standards that Søren Selin and Christian Aarø set for themselves and their team.
In December 2016, Søren Selin will be appearing as a guest chef at Restaurant Ikarus in Hangar-7.
Photo credit: ©Helge Kirchberger Photography / Red Bull Hangar-7