A voyage in taste

A voyage in taste

The cool purity of Norwegian nature creates unique flavors. The person who leads the hunt for the gold that will be served to the guests on board Havila Voyages is Gunnar Hvarnes.

Gunnar Hvarnes prepareing a dish from one of Havila's menus.

When Norway last won Olympic gold in culinary art for the last time in 2008, Gunnar Hvarnes was involved as a chef. 

In 2020, Norway again managed to get its chefs on top of the podium - this time it was with the help of Hvarnes as coach and manager of the team. This year, Gunnar Hvarnes was also the coach of the Norwegian cooking team that won the Bocuse d’Or Europe.

The food experiences as good as the nature experiences

But between the cooking contests, Gunnar Hvarnes' days are filled with Havila Voyages and the work on what is to be served to the guests on board the Havila Voyages ships.

Havila will sail four of the 11 routes on the Bergen-Kirkenes section from January 2021, and Hvarnes will contribute to the food experiences being as good as the nature experiences.

"I want to show Norwegian food and drink from its best side. Of course to the foreign tourists, but at the same time we will also give the Norwegian travelers a taste of good Norwegian food," says Hvarnes.

Gunnar also utilize the ingredients you can find for free in nature.

Good flavours and good suppliers

Food with traditional preservation methods such as cuving, salting and drying are some of the things Hvarnes points out. He mentions, among other things, fenalår (dried and salted lamb leg), cured deer and smoked salmon. Seafood becomes important, as do game and poultry.

Gunnar Hvarnes says that now the ring is closed for him. He started his cooking career on board a passenger ferry on the Oslo Fjord when he was a teenager. Now he will again provide food at sea.

"Food for so many and on board a ship makes logistics and practicality especially important, but we must highlight the good Norwegian ingredients in a simple way, and then we must serve food at different levels - from the simple, but good and crispy waffle in the cafe of the finest reindeer fillet in the fine dining restaurant," he says.

Norwegian gold at Bocuse d'Or
Team Norway won gold in Bocuse d'Or Europe in 2020. Gunnar Hvarnes was coach for the team.

In the hunt for the good flavours, it is also about the hunt for good suppliers. Hvarnes says he is looking for both large and small suppliers, and he is looking for those who can deliver special products for Havila Voyages.

Hvarnes will provide the total experience of the food on board Havila Voyages. This means that in addition to food, menus and suppliers, he must also have training of employees, and plan everything from serving to what kind of food is to be served.

The Olympic champion says he is looking forward to showcasing really good Norwegian ingredients, and his goal is clear:

"The food should at least be half the reason why you should travel with Havila Voyages."

The food should at least be half the reason why you should travel with Havila Voyages

Gunnar Hvarnes

The best Norway has to offer

Havila Voyages' commercial director, Christian Gamsgrø, says that Havila Voyages wants to give both passengers the experience of good Norwegian food, and show Norwegian food and Norwegian suppliers to a global audience.

"When we were looking for someone who could help us with this, everyone pointed to Gunnar Hvarnes. We are very happy to have him on the team, and are really looking forward to serving our passengers the best of Norwegian food," says Christian Gamsgrø .

Gunnar Hvarnes by the ocean