"The most interesting place in Europe to eat” – that's how Noma's René Redzepi described Bo Bech's first restaurant, Paustian. The Copenhagen venue was located in the last building Jørn Utzon ever designed – and the Sydney Opera House architect was one of Bech's regular diners. (You need to hear the story behind the dish that Bech created for Utzon, which the chef talks about near the end of the podcast.)
"When I stepped into the kitchen at the age of 24, my world flipped." Bech became a chef at a relatively late age – enduring terrible food during a peacekeeping mission inspired him to improve on what was available. To convince a bank manager to loan him the money to launch Paustian, he had to revert to some pretty unusual means (it did involve food, though). Paustian is the focus of Bech's first self-published book, What Does Memory Taste Like (which features a signature avocado dish that gets 80-something pages of coverage). His second restaurant, Geist, is more accessible in style – the type of place that Bech would want to be a frequent customer. It's covered in In My Blood, his new book, which is like an autobiography of the restaurant. It features architect's drawings and furniture sketches among the 100 recipes. It also covers rage and other inspirations behind his food (like his lifelong battles against endives and salmon).
We also chat about his recent dinner collaboration with Lennox Hastie and his favourite places to eat in Copenhagen.
You can find In My Blood at chefbobech.com.