Chef Halvar Ellingsen: – Nice colour, texture, taste, and structure

Star chef Halvar Ellingsen has built Kvitnes farm in Vesterålen into one of the country's most renowned restaurants. It is only natural that he should get to taste one of the very first salmon from Andfjord Salmon.

It is a proud fish farmer who is visiting the farm with a sample of the very first harvest from the land-based facility a little further north in Vesterålen. It is about two hours by car from Kvalnes to the popular Kvitnes farm, on a road that runs along some of the most beautiful scenery the region has to offer. Andfjord Salmon's Martin Rasmussen has made the trip to deliver the salmon in person.

At Kvitnes, almost the entire restaurant menu is harvested from within the farm's own fence posts. Quail, Mangalica, 80 winter-fed wild sheep, and at least as many vegetables and herbs. Here, everyone has to contribute to the farm work, including both servers and cooks.

Nature is uncompromising

"We aren't just running a restaurant and accommodation. We are also running a farm. We try to be self-sufficient in most things. It is the surroundings and the farm that determine what we have on the menu. It is nature that decides. And as we know, nature is uncompromising," says Halvar, who is very keen not only to talk about sustainability, but to live it out in practice.

Kvitnes Gård, Vesterålen, Norway

"I've brought you some salmon from Andøya," says an elated CEO of Andfjord Salmon, Martin Rasmussen.

"I'm very excited to see it," says Halvar, opening the box with suitable reverence.

"It looks nice and big. How old is it?"

"This fish weighs 3.5 kilos and has been in the pool since it was just a smolt. That's almost 10 months now," Martin explains.

Inside the kitchen at historic Kvitnes Gård, salmon from Andfjord Salmon is being filleted by a chef who has an impressive career behind him from Michelin-starred restaurants Bagatelle and Ylajali. He is also the youngest ever winner of the Norwegian championship in culinary art. In recent years, he has devoted all his time to developing Kvitnes into a restaurant that everyone is talking about.

Creamy and tasty

"It's a nice fish. The colour is just right," he says. 

"The colour is also related to fish health and is an important antioxidant," says Martin, who in addition to being head of the salmon producer is also a trained biologist.

"It's lovely to slice into this salmon," says the chef, tasting a small piece of raw salmon from Andfjord Salmon, as one of the very first to have the honour of doing so.

And he adds:

"The taste is creamy and good. The texture is nice. Good structure. Nice consistency."

Martin has no doubts about the secret behind the quality of the salmon. "The animals are happiest when they are allowed to be in their natural habitat," he replies.

Sustainable salmon production

"There's no doubt about it. It's important that they are given space to move around as they please. It is very cool that you at Andfjord Salmon are doing this in a proper way."

"Yes, whatever we do, we need to do it with a clear conscience. We will not be able to solve all the world's problems in aquaculture on day one, but we are taking important steps on the road to being the world's most sustainable and fish-friendly facility for salmon production," says the Andfjord Salmon CEO.

"Yes, someone must lead the way. Then others need to follow suit," says the chef.

Andfjord Salmon is built on an innovative and sustainable aquaculture concept, combining the best from both sea and land-based farming. The company has recreated the salmon's natural habitat on land, eliminating the risk of escape and exposure to illness. Andfjord Salmon is an industry leader in good fish health and low energy consumption.

The star chef who moved back home to become a farmer

One of Norway's best chefs, Halvar Ellingsen, left the capital and moved back home to the north to run a farm. His farmhouse has a kitchen that is unlike anything you have seen before.

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.