I published a story on BBC Travel this week about an extraordinary restaurant in Copenhagen called Alchemist. It was one of the most mind-blowing food experiences I’d ever had, anywhere the world, when I went with my husband in 2020 for his 40th birthday. We saved up to go – it’s the most expensive restaurant in the Nordics – and we stopped by the side of the road in the shadow of a volcano during a trip to Iceland to book tickets on wavering internet the moment they became available. It was, in other words, A Big Deal.
I was invited to a special lecture afternoon by the teams at Alchemist and Mugaritz last year, called Rebellious Food, all about breaking the boundaries of what food can be. It fed my mind: edible butterflies, meringues made from silk, and restaurants that don’t seek to please their guests but to broaden their minds. It was the best learning experience I had all year.
It made me think differently about creativity as well as food. The thing that I really appreciate is applied creativity - ideas that change something, shape how we think and behave and offer us a new way of doing things. Creativity for its own sake is great, but this is even better.
So after meeting these people who spend their time thinking about new ways of doing things and different ways to see the world that nobody has thought of yet, I feel renewed hope and optimism that things can change for the better, and it’s worth spending energy and time nerding out on new solutions. I wouldn’t have expected a Michelin-starred restaurant to be developing food that helps kids recovering from chemotherapy, or to be trialling whether miso can survive going into orbit and then feed astronauts on the moon, but it does. Makes me wonder what else there is out there where I could be using my own creativity, beyond writing. I don’t know yet what I’ll be doing this year – as a freelancer, I float a bit like spider silk in the air, looking for the next place to land. I’m keeping an open mind. Maybe there are more applications for what I do than I realise.
Here’s the piece: Alchemist: Is this the world’s most creative restaurant?
I’m still reeling from 2022. Two trips to the Arctic Circle. The Northern Lights setting the sky ablaze. A much longed-for trip to Greenland being much more than I had dared to hope for. Interviews with the most incredible people, dinners in the strangest places, and so much swimming. It was a dream come true. So what does 2023 have in store?
A haphazard blog about writing, travel, Scandinavia and creativity.