Danish chef Kamilla Seidler flew all the way to Austin for prepare lunch for Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, on Monday.
Of course, they didn't have to fly so far for the special meal, but Her Royal Highness and Seidler were in town for South by Southwest and a media lunch showcasing the Nordic flavors that have made Denmark a culinary destination.
Although the Crown Princess didn't stay for lunch, she was on hand for photos and a presentation from Seidler, who announced that she's returning to Copenhagen to open Lola later this year, which will be her first restaurant in her home country since opening a culinary school in Bolivia with Claus Meyer, a co-owner of Noma.
Seidler said that after overseeing a school that has now had more than 4,000 students pass through, it was time to return to Denmark for her next culinary venture. In addition to hosting the Freja Symposium, which aims to improve gender equality in the hospitality business, she has also worked with FOOD Organization of Denmark to further develop Nordic cuisine, which has long promoted strategies to reduce waste in the kitchen. "First, don't call it food waste," Seidler told the small crowd. "It's only waste when it's in the trash can."
Seidler spent more than 5 years in Bolivia and then traveled around the world, picking up new cooking techniques and tools and even teaching former pirates in Somalia how to filet fish. "Sometimes you find a kitchen utensil that you can't live without," she said of what she learns while traveling.
She said that one of the most important things she's learned in her culinary career is how important it is to provide job opportunities to the "quirky people" who tend to thrive in kitchens. At Lola, she plans to hire and train refugees and other employees who might need work visas or an extra hand getting job skills. Her sister, who has Down syndrome, attends a culinary school for people with special needs, but she's also seen the need for vocational training through her time in Latin America, including at Gustu, considered one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.
Seidler served three courses: a potato dish with lovage, dill and pickled cucumber; a main course with pulled pork, corn, Thai lime leaves and wood sorrel; and a dessert with currents, licorice-glazed beets and oat milk panna cotta.