Poul Andrias Ziska, KOKS: “It makes much more sense to eat birds and fish we catch ourselves rather than eating imported American steak.”
Chef at Michelin-starred KOKS, Poul Andrias Ziska, wants the world to know about Faroese sustainable ingredients – and fight for rights to use local raw materials.
“Without nature, there wouldn’t really be a restaurant.”
For Poul Andrias Ziska, chef at the Faroese restaurant KOKS, nature is key. It is a source of inspiration, and it supplies the restaurant with fresh ingredients year round.
“We don’t serve farmed animals, or farmed fish, besides from a little bit of caviar. The birds which we serve are all caught in the surrounding mountains, or at the sea, by local fishermen and hunters. The sheep we use are more or less wild, and we try to use line-caught fish as much as possible.”
KOKS, a haven for foodies and lovers of nature alike, is located on the small island of Streymoy in an isolated wooden farmhouse surrounded by vast hilly grassland and wild nature. In the summer of 2022 and 2023, however, KOKS will be temporarily relocated to Ilimanaq Lodge in Greenland, a 40-minute boat ride across the bay from Ilulissat.
Showcasing the Faroe Islands
Born and raised in the Faroe Islands, Poul wanted to showcase to the world what the Nordic archipelago has to offer in terms of local foodstuffs.
“From the beginning, the idea was an ambitious restaurant using only the local ingredients we have around us. The purpose is to highlight Faroese raw materials, and to show it throughout the menu.”
Guests traveling to the remote restaurant can enjoy local specialties such as puffin, lamb brains, sea urchin, and fermented sheep – in a gourmet version. The splendid use of local raw materials has earned KOKS two Michelin-stars and amazed foodies from the world over.
At KOKS, the vast majority of ingredients are local – the inspiration, though, Poul and his staff find all over the world.
“We use local raw materials, and some traditional cooking techniques, but we don’t cook like we used to do. We work creativity and apply different techniques. It could be adapting a French technique of cooking quails, or applying Japanese cooking methods. But we don’t overdo it. It’s very important that you can actually taste the traditional foodstuffs we work with.”
According to Poul, KOKS is not just about delicious food. KOKS forms part of a bigger mission: The fight for a more sustainable way of living, and a fight for the right to be self-sufficient.
“It makes so much more sense to eat the birds and fish we catch ourselves, rather than eating imported American steak. It’s more sustainable and ethical to kill and eat whales locally, rather than being controlled by big collaborations far away. It’s very important that we are able to be who we are, and do what we want.”
KOKS is cherished by locals and international food lovers alike. To others, though, the use of wild animals in the kitchen of KOKS, and in the Faroe Islands in general, arouses strong feelings.
“We get reactions from the outside world when we eat “cute” animals such as whales, puffins and hares. There is a lot of pressure on us as a society. I believe that at some point, unfortunately, our food traditions will come to an end. Hopefully restaurants like KOKS can help change this development. Or at least prolong the use of local food.”