Antto Melasniemi's Solar Kitchen

The Scandinavian Chef Harnesses the Energy of the Sun for His Latest Gastro Experiment

A sci-fi set up of solar cookers forms the latest collaboration between Finnish gastronome Antto Melasniemi and celebrated Catalan designer Martí Guixé: The Lapin Kulta Solar Kitchen Restaurant. Amplifying the heat of the sun above Helsinki—when available—and directing it onto pans to create simple slow-cooked dishes, such as casseroles, the space-age reflectors function somewhere between a frying pan and an oven. This is a distinct break from the traditional cooking processes employed by Melasniemi at Kuurna, his traditional Finnish eatery just down the road, which serves a simple seasonal menu including dishes like fried chicken hearts with blackcurrant salsa, or crispy pork. “I like to see the transfer of energy from the sun to the food; it's much like the ripening process, as if the sun is finishing the work of ripening the fruit or vegetables,” says Melasniemi of the cooking procedure. “You need to plan ahead and adapt the rhythm of cooking. When clouds come in, for example, you can’t cook—it’s as if the electricity or gas has cut out.” Captured by local photographer Osma Harvilahti, this is the second example of solar synergy between the chef and Guixé, who is also known for creating the playful interiors of Camper stores worldwide: to challenge diners’ perceptions of sustainability and science, the duo originally created a sun-powered kitchen back in 2011 during Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Noma: Staff Meal

    What the Band of Chefs at the World’s Best Restaurant Cook for Each Other

    Danish photographer and filmmaker Simon Ladefoged captures a never-before-documented dimension of Noma, revealing what the chefs at the award-winning eatery cook for their own pre-service meal. Famed for artful Nordic dishes involving delicate, laborious work such as preening deep-fried moss and drying wafers of scallop, Copenhagen's gastronomic mecca re-energizes its chefs with the daily ritual of a boisterous communal staff lunch, held at 5pm before the evening’s guests start pouring in. Granted exclusive access to the Noma kitchens, Ladefoged produced an aesthetic portrait of the 37-strong team, culled from 22 countries, carefully preparing what founder René Redzepi calls their “family meal.” “While filming I was amazed by two things—the number of chefs in the kitchen and the amount of energy they put into their staff lunch,” says the director. “Other restaurants will just grab something for lunch, but this is a really big thing at Noma, which shows a lot about the people who work there, the mentality and the way it’s run.” The family meal varies wildly depending on the nationality of the chef preparing it, ranging from burgers with home-made buns to traditional Israeli dishes or a Danish classic: frikadeller (AKA meatballs).

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Karl Lagerfeld: Zillions

    Malcolm Venville's Crusade to Pose a Single Question to the Illustrious Designer at His Alpine Exhibition

    There aren’t many people who you’d endure several flights, two long train journeys, exceedingly early wake-up calls and a soggy McDonald’s hamburger dinner to spend one minute with—but that’s how powerful the pull of fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld can be. And that pilgrimage is exactly what director Malcolm Venville undertook for a brief encounter with the Chanel and Fendi designer, artist, photographer and one-man cultural phenomenon in St. Moritz in February, where the polymath was revealing an exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska. The series featured Lagerfeld’s new set of fire etchings on glass—based on portraits of his muses such as Theophilus London, Freja Beha Erichsen and Aymeline Valade—and evolved the Kaiser’s extraordinary photographic legacy, which has yielded not only a multitude of ad campaigns, but also groundbreaking books like The Metamorphosis of an American and The Beauty of Violence, both of which distilled the model-to-muse relationship, focusing respectively on male faces Brad Koenig and Baptiste Giabiconi. Navigating the alpine VIP frenzy, filmmaker Venville came straight up against the unrealistic expectations of the Kaiser’s media and creative schedule. Hence he delivered just one potent question, appealing to Lagerfeld’s savoir faire. “To borrow from Hamlet,” says Venville, “brevity is the soul of wit, and he couldn’t be more interesting in that respect.” The director would know, having helmed the films 44 Inch Chest starring John Hurt and Ray Winstone and Henry’s Crime with Keanu Reeves. “I felt there was a lot of power in his answer,” he says of Lagerfeld. “It’s all about the artistic process being intuitive and spontaneous.”  

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