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Norwegian shellfish are a recipe for success, with, 64 Nordic restaurants receiving 80 stars in total at the 2019 Nordic Michelin Guide ceremony, which took place in Aarhus in Denmark Monday evening. But what do these restaurants have in common, apart from being part of the ever emerging Nordic cuisine trend, and sporting stars in the world renowned restaurant guide?

The clue is in the produce, and in particular live Norwegian shellfish such as crayfish, king crab and scallops. They can be found on the menu of more or less all the restaurants in this year’s Nordic Michelin Guide.

– There is something very special about shellfish from Norway. Raised in cold, clear waters and harvested with great care and craftmanship before being transported live from fjord to kitchen. That is the secret behind the success, says CEO of Norwegian shellfish producer Seashell, Helge Myrseth, who confirms he counts a large number of the restaurants in the guide as his customers.

Seeing the rise and rise of the Nordic cuisine trend in the high end food scene, Myrseth is not surprised to see this year’s guide being longer and more star studded than before.

– We have supplied sustainably harvested live scallops to restaurants for over 20 years, but it is amazing to see how Scandinavian restaurants really have upped their game in the past few years – and of course that so many of them are using our scallops, says Myrseth.

Stars and sustainability for Trondheim

For the first time the guide also awarded Michelin stars to two restaurants in the Norwegian city of Trondheim. Credo was one of the hottest tips to be awarded a star in this year’s guide, and on the night head chef Heidi Bjerkan also won the Nordics’ first ever Michelin Sustainability Award.

– This is an incredible accolade to take home. Behind these achievements there’s a lot of hard work, both by all of us in the restaurant, but also by the farmers and fishermen who supply us with such amazing produce. Credo is not just a restaurant, but a project aiming to create a sustainable circular economy when it comes to produce and resources, Bjerkan says.

Bjerkan was also one of three Scandinavian chefs invited by Michelin to do some show cooking after the ceremony. The audience of gourmets from all over the Nordics were treated to dishes with Norwegian stockfish and grilled crayfish harvested from the waters not far from her restaurant in Trondheim.

– Norwegian shellfish really is some of the most amazing produce available, and I am not surprised so many of the top restaurants in the Nordics and the rest of the world have opened their eyes to the quality and taste of Norwegian crayfish, king crab and scallops, Bjerkan says.

Export boom for live Norwegian shellfish

The growing demand and interest for live Norwegian shellfish is not only present in the Nordic countries and the Nordic cuisine trend. From 2017 to 2018 Norwegian exports of live king crab and crayfish grew by impressive 48 and 163 percent respectively. The value of this export is now over 400million NOK a year.

– We know Norwegian shellfish is world class, but it is an extra pat on the back for us to see so many of our customers ranking among the world’s best restaurants, says CEO of Norway King Crab, Svein Ruud, who supplies live king crab and other shellfish to top restaurants all over the globe.

There is no doubt live Norwegian king crab and crayfish is fast becoming global superstars in the chef’s world.

– The rest of the world is still our biggest market, but we have seen a real development in the demand in Scandinavia in recent years, particularly after restaurants like NOMA started using our live king crab and other shellfish, Ruud adds.

The Norwegian Seafood Council works with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries to develop markets for Norwegian seafood through local market intelligence, market development and reputational risk management. The Seafood Council is headquartered in Tromsø and maintains local representatives in twelve of Norway’s most important international markets. The Norwegian seafood industry finances the activities of the Norwegian Seafood Council via a tariff on all Norwegian seafood exports.

The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.