Skip to main content

‘Ålesund is surrounded by the sea’s bounty,’ he concludes.

Head chef and manager of the restaurants Bro and Bryt, which are located beside the sea in the middle of charming Brosundet sound, is really passionate about great culinary experiences. He stands on the wharf just outside his restaurant attentively watching the small fishing boat chugging its way into the harbour. The dedicated chef secures lucrative deals, and the fisherman behind the wheel lifts his hand in his customary farewell gesture. The bright yellow waterproof overalls he is wearing are every bit as authentic as the old salt himself. Gulls circle above squawking, hungry for a taste of his catch.

‘It doesn’t get any more local than this,’ Ronny comments.

Fish and shellfish are lumped from the fishing boat more or less straight onto his very doorstep. With a little gentle prodding, the crabs could have crawled into the kitchen themselves.

‘The Norway lobsters are so lively, they sometimes jump out of their boxes. We almost have to let the ingredients calm down a bit before we can use them. As a chef, using ingredients as fresh as this is particularly satisfying,’ says Ronny smiling, rubbing his hands together.

© Fjord Norway

As fresh as it gets

The freshness of the ingredients means they have a special texture and firmness. The flounder he has brought into the kitchen is so fresh that it is still bouncy when Ronny plants it on the chopping board. Under massive, historical rafters, the chef’s knife cuts into the white fish as if it was butter.

‘I love getting hold of excellent, fresh flatfish that I can cut into through bones and the lot. It’s best to fry the fish at a high temperature. I put it straight into the smoke grill with grass and other things to flavour it, then I let the fish rest so that it absorbs all the juices.’

A good butter sauce is a must, according to the passionate gourmand.

‘I really like the term “dirty sauce”. That’s when you add loads of ingredients and stuff to a sauce. That’s the kind of food I like best, and the way I go about it sets me apart as a chef.’

Ronny’s face is as full of concentration and pleasure while he arranges the food on the dish as his guests will be when they are served the dish immediately afterwards.

‘This is so fresh and so good. I want to show off the ingredients, not hide them. Nothing here needs any camouflage. The ingredients must shine,’ Ronny concludes.

‘The taste sensation you get when the ingredients are so fresh makes a very different sensation in your mouth,’ he adds, backing the claim up by gesturing with his hand up to his mouth.

Coastal gastronomy

Based on the concept ‘the coastal gastronomy of Sunnmøre’, the restaurant owner and his team want to explore local, seasonal produce, and let it play the lead in a menu that changes in step with the ingredients that are available. And they don’t only reap the bounty of the sea. The wild sheep and lambs that have grazed in the bracing coastal landscape eventually also make their way to his kitchen.

‘The meat of lambs that graze on the foreshore has a slightly salty flavour. We also have access to lots of different mushrooms and wild plants like wild garlic, elderflower, plants that do well in the coastal climate.’

Ronny knows from experience that running a restaurant on the coast can’t be compared to running a restaurant further inland.

‘Being so close to nature, the weather, wind, rain and sea air makes it a very different experience. We call it coastal gastronomy, because we make dishes that have a connection to the region.'

The chef achieves this by sneaking a little clipfish into a sauce, or adding seaweed to a meat dish to emphasise the proximity to the sea.

‘I use a lot of different seaweed when I make food. Seaweed contains a lot of umami, which means it brings out the taste of the sea even more than fish and shellfish. Seaweed is very simply a taste enhancer, and gives dishes the right array of flavours.’

Love of food

Using the usual supply logistics and letting the ingredients first be transported to Oslo before then being distributed back to Sunnmøre was out of the question for this food patriot.

‘It’s pointless. We have producers and suppliers on our doorstep. We set up our own fish landing facility for small fishing boats here at Bro, so we didn’t have to be a number on a supplier’s list. And there’s another fish landing facility not that far from here. That kind of direct contact is a real privilege. I was able to buy 50 kg of the freshest wild turbot the other day. It felt like winning the lottery,’ Ronny chuckles and rubs his hands together again.

© Fjord Norway

Knowing where the ingredients come from increases his interest in and the joy he gets from making food.

‘The sea inspires me. I can see and touch the ingredients right from the start, and I know the fishermen, farmers, cheesemakers and mushroom gatherers who supply them. They deserve respect, both the ingredients themselves and those who have harvested them. The pleasure this gives me means that the staff enjoy their work. And happy waiters mean happy guests.’

Most people, including chefs and people who go out to eat, want to know where their food comes from.

‘We can tell them exactly which mountain the goats have grazed on, or where their Norway lobster has been caught. Our guests realise that what’s on their plates is more than mere food, it’s passion. We give them a taste of the coast.’

Back to his roots

Ronny grew up in Ålesund, but took nature’s bounty back then for granted.

‘It wasn’t until I was an adult that it suddenly struck me: "I come from a rich treasure trove when it comes to food". When I moved back here after 13 years in Oslo, I recognised the value of my surroundings. It’s so beautiful here.'

Communicating Ålesund’s cultural history has now become something of an obsession.

‘The restaurant, Bro, is situated in the very heart of Ålesund, in an old warehouse.We want to highlight the qualities of the building and its history, and both the building itself and its decor reflect the town’s coastal history,’ he explains.

© Fjord Norway

When he and his business partner, restaurant manager Joakim Hoff, came to Ålesund, one of their goals was to establish a good restaurant environment in the town. They started a collaboration with two other restaurant owners; Stig Strømsvåg at Apotekergata No 5, and Andreas Ottosen at Zuuma. Together, they came up with the project ‘Brosundet koker’, which became a huge success.

‘If I run out of certain ingredients, I can call one of the others and hear whether they have any Norway Lobsters I can borrow, for example. We also buy large quantities together and share it, borrow each other’s staff, and hold staff parties together. We’re not competitors working on our own terms, we work together to improve the quality of what we do. Together, we aim to make Ålesund a better place to eat out.’

Come to Ålesund

‘Local food from Norway is the future,’ proclaims the head chef from Bro.

‘We’re not meant to be able to choose what we want to eat at any given time. That’s not how nature works. It’s good for restaurants and guests to follow the seasonal changes in nature.'

He wants to be an ambassador for and create respect for the culture of his region.

‘Come to Ålesund,’ encourages Ronny.

It’s quite simply a fantastic town to visit and experience. Come and get a taste of the fantastic food we have around here, from the lambs grazing on the foreshore to cod and monkfish, Norway lobster and crab. There’s lots of great food around and a lot going on. Ålesund is the most beautiful town in Norway with the best seafood to boot.’

© Fjord Norway

Food experiences in Ålesund

We have passion for the ocean

The ocean has a magical way of capturing our attention and Fjord Norway’s coast is no exception. Experience our sandy beaches, go surfing, try kayaking among a myriad of islands and reefs or just be present in the moment. Meet welcoming locals, taste fantastic seafood and share our passion for the ocean!

Find out more

Related articles