You write the most popular food blog in Scandinavia. How did it all start?
That depends on how long you want me to go back. It all started way back with parents who made me proper food at home, made from real ingredients and not prepackaged stuff. I learned to cook from my dad. My interest for social media was sparked by a presentation about Twitter by the tech guru Øyvind Solstad in 2009, which led to me writing my Master thesis in marketing strategy about social media and business. In that process, I also made a blog which had recipes among other things. Then came Instagram along, and to make a long story short, that’s what got me to where I am today. Half a year ago I quit my second job, and now I live as a freelance writer, photographer/videographer, and restaurant consultant.
You have extensive knowledge of gastronomy. Have you ever worked in a restaurant?
I have never worked in a restaurant, except one day as a guest chef at Smalhans once. It was a very stressful day which further strengthened my deep respect for the profession. That consideration is also part of the reason why I don’t publish negative reviews – I don’t have a desire to publicly out anyone for their work. If I am not happy with a restaurant experience, I simply don’t write about it. However, I do make a lot of food at home, and I definitely know a thing or two about cooking.
Your photos are awesome! Do you take all of them on your own?
Thak you, and yes I do. I only use my own photos, which I see as both an advantage and a disadvantage. It means I have to be physically present and experience everything I write about, but it also means I can sometimes get less than ideal pictures late at night or in badly lit rooms. That’s why I bought a really good camera for those situations! It’s a Sony A7II with a 55mm f1.8 Zeiss lens. For Instagram, I sometimes use my iPhone 7 as well.
What was the funniest situation in the restaurant?
Probably the look on my friend’s face when he ate rotten shark at Pjoltergeist the first (and only) time.
What’s your favourite restaurant? The one where you often come back?
Pjoltergeist has been my most visited restaurant every year since they opened in Oslo back in 2013. The great ambiance is only exceeded by the amazing food prepared by the Icelandic chef Atli. He has a unique expression on the plate with big flavors that give you a real kick to the taste buds. Pjoltergeist is probably the most popular restaurant within the restaurant industry in Oslo as well – a true chef’s hangout.
What do you do when you don’t like your meal, you get terrible service at a restaurant, and there’s just no atmosphere?
Mainly, I just don’t come back to that place. Unless I have reason to believe it was an unfortunately bad night for them, but usually that’s not the case. However, I very seldom publish anything about these bad experiences unless there is a good reason for me to do so.
What restaurant in Oslo would you recommend for dinner?
Pjoltergeist, Arakataka, Maaemo, Vaaghals, Sentralen, Publiko, Kolonialen and Bokbacka are among my top picks. I have made a map with all my favorites on andershusa.com.
What advice do you have for young food bloggers?
Do something original and something you love. Trine Sandberg (Trine’s Matblogg) will always be the recipe queen in Norway. She’s been around for so long and done such a good job that Google rank her articles way on top. Ask yourself why people should follow your blog in particular, and pick a direction that you are motivated to go. Blogging will take up a major part of your time if you decide to pursue it professionally.
I live in Telemark, when are you going to visit my area?
Hopefully soon! I want to explore more of Norway, and I think there are a lot of great places to discover. I just need more time and money, and preferably I should also clone myself.
Have you ever been disappointed by a Michelin-starred restaurant?
Yes, several times. A Michelin star is not necessarily a guarantee for top quality, and the French guide is sadly outdated in many places. The stars can be good pointers, but I always check multiple sources now: other guides, newspaper reviews, and local food bloggers.
What, in your opinion, kicks in the first time you enter a restaurant?
The first I notice are the people. Are they passionate? Do they like their job? It’s remarkably easy to tell, whether it’s in a fine dining establishment where you are welcomed at the door, shown to your table and catered to the whole night, or a more casual bistro where the waiter is less available, but service is still a huge part of the impression. You can usually tell the chef’s passion on the plate.
On your blog you present both high-class fine-dining restaurants, and the ones where burgers are served for main courses. Why such variation?
Because I love food – in all varieties. I never meant for my blog to be exclusively about high-end fine dining restaurants, but they usually get the most attention and thus people sometimes jump to conclusions. I enjoy a perfect burger as much as I enjoy a complex dish at Maaemo. I want to give people the best recommendations in all categories and suitable for all budgets.
Apart from Nordic cuisine, which country’s cuisine do you like most, and why?
That’s a tough question! You have the Mexican cuisine with its amazing spices and pungent flavors, the French with rich sauces and overload of butter and truffle, and the hearty Italian home cooking with pasta, olive oil, and cheese. However, if I had to choose one for the rest of my life, it would be Asian, and specifically the Japanese cuisine. It’s so savory and simple, and yet so elegant and complex.
Anders Husa Fanpage: www.facebook.com/andershusacom/