Chef Liam Coffey from Birmingham loves life on Andøya

Liam Coffey, from England, works as a chef at the restaurant Arresten on the island of Andøya. He loves life by the edge of the sea, with whales, dramatic scenery, the northern lights, and the sandy beach at Bleik.

"I've lived on Andøya for five years now and love the island. We spend a lot of time out at sea in boats, hiking in the mountains, and being outside in the fantastic nature," says Liam. 

 But his favourite thing is to head out on a safari. 

 "And most importantly, you have the whales. I never get tired of going out and watching the whales here," says Liam. 

 He has been a chef for 22 years and has settled in Bleik with his family. 

"I have two children, and for me it was absolutely the right choice to raise them up here in the north. I first lived in Oslo for a few years. But being up here in nature and the mountains is much better for the kids. And for me." 

Arresten: a historic eatery 

Arresten is a legendary and historic restaurant in Andenes. As the name indicates (arresten is Norwegian for jail), the eatery is housed in an old prison. Here, you will find 150-year-old cell doors and wrought iron bars that once kept the prisoners confined.  

At that time, only water and bread were served on these premises. Today, Liam is preparing a real feast for us, based on salmon from Andfjord Salmon.  

"Today I'm going to prepare a dish where we bake the salmon together with maple syrup, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard. We sauté it with amandine potatoes, asparagus, pumpkin, and Romanesco. We then add some shallots and parsley," the chef says. 

The staff at Arresten are used to having busy days.  

Northern lights and whale watching 

"It's full throttle here in the summer. Then it calms down and there’s a slower pace during the autumn. But then winter and the northern lights come in full force, and things pick up again. And, of course, you have whale watching all year round," Liam explains. 

Andøya is one of the places where you have the greatest odds of experiencing these majestic marine mammals in Norway. Just off the island, the sea plunges over a thousand metres straight down, providing the perfect conditions for a wide variety of whale species. At the tip of Andøya lies the village of Andenes, where you can find a wide variety of whale watching adventures. 

Fourteen salmon rivers on Andøya 

When Liam is not at sea or up in the mountains, he likes to head down to the beautiful white sandy beach that has given his hometown of Bleik its name. These waters are also home to Atlantic salmon. The sea outside has favourable conditions for salmon, and there are over fourteen salmon rivers on the island. 

"What is your relationship to Norwegian salmon?" 

"My very first encounter with Norwegian salmon at home in Birmingham, England, was when I was young. I saw a salmon fillet in the store and considered it very exotic at the time. Because it came all the way from Norway," Liam explains. 

"So many years later, I now live here, live a good life and work with salmon. And I don't think there's a better fish than Norwegian salmon." 

"What's it like working with salmon?" 

 "It's probably one of the easiest ingredients to work with, compared to other fish species. I really like to cook salmon." 

The chef places the baked salmon on the counter, rings the bell and comes up with a classic Norwegian phrase: værsågod! Or "enjoy your meal" as he would say back home in Birmingham.

Andfjord Salmon is a Norwegian company established in 2014. The company is listed at Oslo Stock Exchange (ANDF), and located at Kvalnes on the northernmost island of Andøya in Vesteraalen, Norway.