Our two Culinary ambassadors Ellingsen and Nässander in their kitchens.

Meet our Culinary Ambassadors

Astrid Nässlander and Halvar Ellingsen are two top-tier Head Chefs who live and work on the Norwegian coast. They’re bringing their specialist knowledge of local ingredients and their own individual brand of culinary flair to our menus.

Culinary Ambassadors

Right now, there’s an exciting food renaissance underway in Norway. Rather than relying on exotic imports, restaurants across the country are rediscovering, celebrating, and reinventing the cooking traditions and bountiful ingredients that are just on our doorstep.  

But it’s not just the produce that is local – so too is the talent. Head Chefs Astrid Nässlander and Halvar Ellingsen both hail from northern Norway, and through conscientious cooking they each champion local suppliers and organic, sustainable ingredients to create exceptional gastronomic experiences.

Collaborators from the coast

As part of a new project led by Norway’s Coastal Kitchen Head Chef, Øistein Nilsen, we are excited to partner with both Astrid and Halvar to design a range of new seasonal dishes unique to our onboard restaurants. These will use local ingredients to showcase the rich flavours of each of Norway’s seasons.

Astrid Nässlander

National Chef Prize Winner for Sustainability

Founder of Høst Matverksted, Steigen

“What drives me is the urge to show people what we have around us, and that it’s possible to source food differently than just going to the supermarket. It’s old-fashioned common sense to get milk from a dairy farmer or meat from a moose hunter.

I like to describe my approach to cooking by using the term ‘retrovation’, which means to look back when developing the future. By combining both new and old methods and ingredients, we get an interesting pantry as a starting point for cooking. 

I’m very excited and curious to see what we can achieve when a venerable and established brand like The Coastal Express meets my young, ambitious ideas. I’m in it for the local food with sustainable production methods as the foundation.”

Astrid photo Yann Bougaran 1200px
halvar ellingsen

Halvar Ellingsen

National Culinary Champion

Head Chef at Kvitnes, Vesterålen

“I lived and cooked in Oslo for ten years before moving back home to cook at Kvitnes, my family’s farm in Vesterålen, six years ago. I wanted to make the ingredients the star of the show again, to prove what sustainable food really is in practice, and how far you can go with it. 

As a young boy, I would hear the whistle of The Coastal Express ships just before half past one every day. It was a natural part of growing up on the coast. Even now, we have goods delivered to our restaurant from the ships every single week. 

I’m really looking forward to having fun working together, and serving guests dishes that not only taste great but also connects them more to the areas they travel to.”