Chef Jan-Erik Hauge from The Royal Norwegian Embassy was a competitor in the 2011 DC Embassy Chef Challenge. His salmon dish brought back memories of the New Nordic cuisine I tasted in Iceland. Chef Jan-Erik Hauge showed an early love for cooking. His first job was at a seafood restaurant where he started as a busboy and rose through the ranks to kitchen assistant. Chef Hauge went on to study culinary arts while in high school and through apprenticeships with many accomplished chefs, including Master Chef Odd Ivar Solvold at the restaurant Mathuset Solvold, where he also worked as a cook. Chef Hauge has worked as the head chef at The Royal Norwegian Embassy since August 2010.
How did you become an Embassy Chef?
A former colleague of mine called me up ,early spring 2010, and said the position for Norway's Embassy Chef was going to be vacant and that I should Apply. I took the time to think on it for a while, and decided to apply and see if it was an opportunity. After a wait for a month or so, I got an e-mail saying that they were considering me for the job. From then on a dialog started between me, the Ambassador , his wife and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. In the end I Became Embassy Chef, and had my first Dinner in the residence 28. August 2010.
What is unique about the cuisine of your home country?
Norway has a long coastline filled with fish and seafood. Lovely seasonal vegetables, fruits and berries. This gives the chefs a lot of inspiration. Norwegian chefs have collected prizes from international competitions. This must reflect back to our cuisine. Nordic cuisine is hot at the moment and People in the DC area will be able to experience that in the Nordic Food Days in dc (20. – 26. June), were representing Norway is Geir Skeie, Bocuse D`or winner of 2009.
Where did you train?
I started working in a professional kitchen when I was about 13 years of age, as a dishwasher at the local restaurant Knutholmen (http://www.knutholmen.no/). The restaurant is known for their seafood. And I fell in love with it. I worked my way up, got to help the kitchen more for every day I worked there. Started Culinary school in Måløy as 16, got my apprenticeship at Mathuset Solvold in Sandefjord, working for Masterchef Odd Ivar Solvold. (culinary education takes 4 years in Norway. 2 years at school, and 2 years in a Buisness) I got my certificate as a Chef 9. June 2010, after 2 wonderful years learning how to cook from great chefs. Got to work there out the summer, before I started at the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I don`t got any favorites. As a young chef I like to challenge myself and trying out new ingredients and produce. Got so much to try out and different things to taste! But if I have to say something I prefer working with, I have to say fish. After all I come from Norway.:)
What is your favorite restaurant in DC?
Unfortunately, I have not been able to eat myself around DC. I mostly eat lunch and dinner on my surrounding restaurants. Out of them I eat the most at Burbon, Surfside and 2 Amys. They serve good food.