Into the wild: Nevada Berg
This week we caught up with Nevada Berg, the founder of North Wild Kitchen, Author of one of New York Times’s best selling cook books, passionate Wild Chef & avid outdoor enthusiast. To get more of an insight into what drives her passion for all things Norwegian & Wild.
"There is so much splendor in the nature that it grounds you and reminds you what’s really important in this life." - Nevada Berg
Tell us a little bit about yourself and North Wild Kitchen?
I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and during my life journeys found myself in Norway with my Norwegian husband and our son. We had lived a nomadic life before settling down in the Medieval Valley of Numedal.
Once here, I knew I wanted to look further into the history behind the dishes and discover more of the cuisine and ingredients. Coming to Numedal, I was taken back by the amazing natural ingredients growing right outside our doorstep; from chanterelles and wild strawberries to wild meats and fresh-water fish.
The taste variations and quality are some of the best I have ever experienced. Learning about traditional methods, like smoking and curing, and the nuances and flavors that come from hand-made foods was just another reason to make me fall so heavily for Norwegian cooking.
In 2016, not long after we arrived, I started North Wild Kitchen to share my experiences and showcase the Norwegian food and culture. The stories and recipes are inspired by tradition and history, as well as innovative approaches to Norwegian ingredients.
Saveur Magazine awarded me the Blog of the Year and Best New Blog at their world awards that year. In 2018, I released my first cookbook internationally and it was named one of the best cookbooks of the fall by the New York Times. As an ambassador of Norwegian cuisine, I’ve been fortunate to work with businesses and organizations who share the same ethos while promoting local food producers and seasonal ingredients through a multitude of ways to help put Norwegian cuisine on the agenda, both nationally and internationally.
"I simply adore juniper, spruce tips, nettles, fireweed, meadowsweet, and chantarelles. The list could go on, but these are all ingredients that grow wild outside my door in the mountains and I use them often in my cooking." - Nevada Berg
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the stories behind the plate and the people that help drive Norwegian cuisines forward. Our food culture is always evolving and is an expression of the ingredients, the hands who made it, and the seasons we are in.
The combination of the abundance of food found in nature, the history and the traditions behind Norway’s food culture, the people that produce our food, and the ability to use these elements to innovate and create is what inspires me daily.
Can you sum up what type of cook you are in a simple sentence?
An open-minded and creative cook with a passion for all things wild.
What’s your favourite wild nordic ingredients and why?
I simply adore juniper, spruce tips, nettles, fireweed, meadowsweet, and chantarelles. The list could go on, but these are all ingredients that grow wild outside my door in the mountains and I use them often in my cooking.
I look forward to their arrival with such anticipation and find there are so many creative uses for them. Chantarelles were the first wild edible I picked in Norway, and they’re known as the forest’s gold, so they will always hold a special place in my heart.
What is it about the Nordic wilderness that you enjoy so much?
The peace and tranquility. There is so much splendor in the nature that it grounds you and reminds you what’s really important in this life. The Nordic climate and abundance of light in the spring and summer also result in world-class edibles that are delicious to eat and cook with.
What did you enjoy about drinking Ambijus Clearly Confused?
I love the sophistication of the wild flavors and how it draws you into the Norwegian landscape in a subtle and very grown-up way. It’s fresh and delicious, a drink you can have on its own or paired with food and I’m excited to try it with a variety of dishes. Not to mention that it’s an alcohol-free alternative, which there are very few high-quality options for.
What’s your go-to simple to cook meal for this time of the year?
I’m all for the heartwarming stews and casseroles, especially a creamy wild stew (viltgryte) with lingonberries and pan-fried brussels sprouts on top.
What exciting things are on the horizon for North Wild Kitchen?
My second cookbook, Norwegian Baking, is coming out in the spring of next year! Not to forget my first cookbook with an entire chapter of recipes dedicated to foraged edibles.
I’m also hosting a culinary food experience from Oslo to Bergen next September, where we get to taste Norway’s food culture as we make our way through the rural landscape. Space is limited, and you can book here.
You can read more about Nevada, North Wild Kitchen and what else is going on in the coming months by following her on Instagram or visiting https://northwildkitchen.com/