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The Koch who came home

Acclaimed chef de cuisine (and MasterChef judge) Jesper Koch was born and raised in South Jutland. He cannot recall ever not being passionate about or interested in food. Because good produce, ingredients, the craft of cookery and its traditions have always been part of his everyday life.

Acclaimed chef de cuisine (and MasterChef judge) Jesper Koch was born and raised in South Jutland.

Jesper’s grandmother was a phenomenal cook. In her own cosy kitchen, she cooked the fish Jesper caught in Genner Bay. When the first fresh vegetables of summer arrived, she and Jesper would make Snysk, which, in keeping with tradition, is served with smoked pork. Smoky flavour is also an element of Jesper’s favourite dish Skrædderduels, as well as many other regional South Jutland dishes. When the region was ceded to Prussia after the Second Schleswig War in 1864, German butchers settled here bringing with them proud sausage-making and smoked-food traditions. This rubbed off on the local cuisine. This was also the era when the renowned pastry buffet of South Jutland emerged, and Jesper’s grandmother truly mastered the art of baking, too. Nuts and berries from former fringe areas, once grazed by medieval village cattle, as well as the fruits of the garden and orchard were transformed into sumptuous cakes, pastries and desserts in varieties only found in an authentic South Jutland pastry buffet.

In fact, there is no single right recipe in South Jutland: the only “right” recipe is one that a family has passed down from one generation to the next. This was also the case with Jesper’s family, and before he was even old enough to peer over a kitchen counter, their traditions were on their way to the next generation.

The three restaurants at hotel Alsik are Jesper Koch’s vision and dream of giving something in return to the region and cuisine which have shaped him. After having worked for an impressive array of restaurants in Denmark and abroad, including a number of Michelin two-star and three-star restaurants, and after having founded restaurants such as Brdr. Koch, Kocherier and Det Glade Vanvid, this South Jutland chef has come home. To South Jutland.