Henrik grew up in a small town called Tönsberg in Norway, in a family where cycling, good food and a lot of time outdoors were big part of their everyday. Today, Henrik is living his childhood dream working as a chef both indoors but also a lot outdoors. Inspired by cooking in nature, he has written a bunch of cookbooks with both simple and more advanced recipes for cooking on outdoor stoves. He lives with his family in central Oslo, where he’s making another dream come through with his new restaurant Vélochef Club House, expected to open in spring 2021. A declaration of food and cycling.
The advantage of living in a city surrounded by amazing nature, is that it’s easy to go outside. In the past, I would have gone on bike rides on my own or with friends or for long hikes with my wife Hedda, but with two young children, it’s important to keep the outdoor life simple, for both our and their sake. Nowadays, a three kilometer walk can take all day for it to be fun for everyone, one must unwind and take it down a notch when hiking with kids. By accepting this and seeing the world through the kids’ eyes, I see things I wouldn't otherwise have seen and the hike suddenly becomes exciting in a completely different way.
When heading outside with the family, it doesn’t matter where we are, may it be in a forest, mountains, a park, by the sea – it’s the contrast from the city that makes an impact. The tranquility of nature slows down everyone's pulse and seeing the children's creative play with sticks, cones and leaves motivates us to escape the city’s hustle and bustle as often as we can. We normally go for day trips, but sometimes we stay overnight in one of the cabins that the Norwegian Tourist Association has available. I usually pack food for a bunch of different meals, so we have enough to eat along the way but also to cook on site. For dinner, the favorite is skewers or hot dogs to grill over open fire. That is why I always pack the small Aeril stove and also because it doesn’t take up too much space or weight in the backpack. I place it directly on top of the fire and in an instance I have a hot surface to grill on. I usually prepare the skewers at home, it’s so much easier that way! And breakfast or lunch tends to be waffles. The kids cravings decides.
Being able to spend quality time in nature with my kids feels extremely important. Probably partly because my own upbringing included a lot of outdoor life, but also because I see how the kids grow and develop being outdoors. The fact that I get to cook outside every time as well is a great bonus.
Velóchef & restaurant owner of Velóchef clubhouse in Oslo
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