Høyfjellshotell Gaustablikk

Norway, I just had the opportunity to work in Norway, it was the first time for me working over the "border".

Flying in and out every second week during the peak winter season January - March, Gaustablikk ski resort I hadn't heard of previously, Gaustablikk is situated right in the middle of telemark county, a name with direct skiing connotations. Gaustablikk may not be your exploited alcohol focused ski resort as many ski resorts seem to be. Gaustablikk is more your prime nature and integrated tourist destination incorporated into an unspoiled "fjäll" environment. New experiences are always full of expectations and new learning opportunities, which we welcomed with open arms.

Gaustatoppen, an early morning promise of a great day

Hitting the ground running is always tough, slotting into the daily routines in an existing kitchen team and suppliers had its challenges.

Gaustablikk as of many winter-resorts has a complex Food & Beverage operation. Gaustablikk F&B operation centres on Høyfjellshotell, the central ski lodge with hotel rooms, restaurants, breakfast & bar and Stova, a ski in high octane lunch drop with a barbecue kitchen, pizza kitchen, theme nights and a la carte.

January afternoon's are just as black as nights at these latitudes, the main lodge lights up the darkness.

Björk restaurant

Gaustablikk offers a lot for the ambitious young chef as well, featuring many opportunities to learn technical skills, a first class bakery and cafe, home made pizzas, smoke and barbecue ovens, theme weeks with renowned international chefs, wine makers dinners, table d'hôte and a la carte restaurant service.

But learning as always is a question of attitude, you're open to the process or not, thus determining the learning ability and of course accumulated experience and skills set. In a restaurant kitchen, knowledge and skills are power- power can be interpreted as position in an ageing heretical system, position is money and opportunity.

Björk restaurant with a 3 course table d'hôte menu

Blikk restaurant

Norway which is not a member of the European Union, seems to be more protective of its local produce and food manufacturing industries, they seem to be producing a more wide assortment of easy to import produce and taxing the hell out of standard imports from the EU and countries further afar.

A competitive assortment of produce doesn't seem to exist either, it's a like it or lump it attitude. An extra sugar tax makes anything sweetened also is more expensive. Two prime price examples are bacon the wholesale price of bacon from our restaurant supplier is more expensive than beef tenderloin back home in Sweden and a can of red bull costs the same as 3 cans of beer from our special alcohol shops in Sweden, and I'm in no way saying that Sweden is a cheap country.

Expensive is Norway anyway "they have oil" which they pump into the national pension scheme, which not a bad idea as it generates a cash flow via their active pensioners.

Blikk restaurant with an a la carte menu

The road to Gaustablikk is both historic and interesting.

Driving on from Nortodden one comes to Tinn Lake, Tinn Lake is one of Norways largest and deepest lakes, reaching a depth of 460 meters, Tinn lake is fed from the west by the Måna river which flows through the town of Rjuken and along the picturesque and impressive Vestfjord valley.

This idyllic natural setting staged one of world war 2's most deciding confrontations, during 1944 German occupied Norway was producing heavy water at the Vemoth Hydro plant, obviously the Germans needed the heavy water for their atomic bomb research back in Berlin. Whereupon the heroic local Norwegian resistance together with the allies sabotaged the plant in Rjuken at the bottom of the valley. Later when the production had recommenced and a shipment of barrels filled with heavy water was being transported on the local ferry SF Hydro the resistance struck again sinking the SF Hydro in Tinn lakes deepest depths. A poignant cost of this necessary operation was the loss of local lives on the ferry.

There are films and documentaries recounting these events, notably the 1966 film, the hero's of Telemark with Kirk Douglas in the lead. Many scenes were filmed in and around Rjuken and Gaustablikk. Kirks bar at Gaustablikk is a fitting reminder of the film.

"Still available on you tube"

The Tramway

The nearby Gaustabanan "tramway" is an underground railway that ascends inside the mountain to Gaustatoppen, "the summit" the train climbs from 1150 to 1800 meters above sea level. The Gausta tourist hut and the cold war Nato listening post are atop the mountain.

Nature at its most pristine
Norwegian umteen times a day from Stockholm