Kristian Baumann is a Korean-born Dane, and the head chef and owner of the restaurant Koan. Although Copenhagen isn’t Baumann’s birth-city. It is the city in which he cemented his reputation as a key figure in New Nordic food.
His career features stints at landmark dining rooms including Noma, Relae, Manfred’s and, most recently, 108, a multi-function restaurant, cafe and wine bar in the former Noma space on the Copenhagen waterfront, which was one of the first Copenhagen restaurants forced to close in the slipstream of the large corona closure, but soon, Kristian, will be ready for her new project.
“I’m not the type who can stand lying on the couch for half a year waiting for a new room to open where I can open a restaurant”.
Enter Koan, a restaurant inspired by Korean food, culture and art
Since his first trip to Korea in 2017, Baumann has made a Korean research trip an annual event. Food, unsurprisingly, features prominently on his itineraries with Baumann seeking out everything from traditional Korean royal court cooking and back-alley barbecue to the country’s Buddhist-inspired temple food.
These Korean connections manifest themselves at in different ways. The plates, for instance, have been thrown by Korean potters, and Korean chilli makes appearances at different stages of guests’ 13-course dinners.
A Koan is a riddle designed to provoke deep thought
“A Koan is a riddle like question in Zen Buddhism meant to break boundaries and create an open mind. This is the beginning of my journey back to my birth country South Korea via art, design, history, and all wonders of the country. The menu is a reflection of our wonderful terroir and the amazing producers we have in the Nordic region but is also inspired by the many trips we’ve had to South Korea over years.”⠀