Gluttony and lust rarely make for a pretty pairing, but the men of The Flying Culinary Circus are out to create a paradigm shift in your thinking. Tor, Trond, Mathias, and Hans-Kristian are four, award-winning chefs from Norway who tour the world cooking and charming their guests, one night at a time. The guys are easy on the eyes and each specialize in something different, with Tor focusing mainly on the herbs and vegetables while Mathias creates the sauces and soups. Trond is the fish and shellfish expert and Hans-Kristian prefers to keep it simple: He’s the meat man.
Four, young, hot chefs who fly all around the world cooking at charity events and private dinner parties? Sounds like a reality show. And that’s exactly how I ended up scoring the invite to a private party hosted by Ms. Sarah Robarts at her home in the Pacific Palisades. The Circus had come to town and they were looking to land a deal. The guys were in LA for a few days talking to television execs about the possibility of doing their own reality show and took some time out from their crazy busy schedule to cook up a delicious dinner for Sarah’s guests.
Mathias Bugge, the sauce and soup man, tells me that, “We are working with Nordic Films in Scandinavia and the Conlin Company and Mercier Films here in the U.S. for different projects. I can’t say too much about the details for the concept, but it will be totally new and exciting and since we are the Flying Culinary Circus, it could even include some flying!” he says.
The open kitchen floorplan in Sarah’s beautiful home allowed for the Norwegians to chat up and charm the guests while they sliced, diced and sautéed the evening’s appetizers. Each of the guys took turns walking the party with trays, passing out their creations and winning us over with their adorable accents. We started with Tuna Sashimi smothered in a Wasabi and Apple Sorbet and after just one bite I had chased down Trond to insist that I must be granted permission for a second helping.
The “Soba” Salmon with Avocado and Cilantro Yogurt was a party favorite and I would’ve raided Tor’s tray for a third time if I hadn’t been introduced to Steve Dennis. Dennis is the author of Harper Collins’ new Britney Spears biography, Britney: Inside The Dream (The irony of Britney currently performing a circus-themed tour was not lost on me). He filled me in on the creative angle he employed in order to really get inside the mind of America’s Pop Princess. He actually visited a psychoanalyst as Britney, meaning that he went in for sessions armed with a bevy of information he’d gathered from the people around her regarding her past and her personality. He wrote the book from a more emotional aspect in an attempt to shed light on the reasonings behind some of her more infamous life choices. It was an intriguing conversation to say the least and was cut short by the arrival of the main courses: Miang Santa Barbara Shrimp and Quail with Foie Gras, Grapes and Mustard.
“It’s obviously difficult to say exactly what my absolute favorite dish would be because it really depends on the season and where we are, but my Norwegian favorite would probably be grilled stockfish with a green pea puree and bacon,” said Mathias.
The food was poignant and delicious and the men were witty and personable, making it easy to see why The Flying Culinary Circus have been flown around the world to cook and entertain for celebrities, royalty, and dignitaries. The only thing I was a bit disappointed in was the fact that there wasn’t actually a circus. I mean, I didn’t expect elephants or anything on a Cirque du Soleil level, but a little acrobatics or fire-breathing by the guys would’ve been nice.
Mathias told me that they do have plans to learn actual circus tricks at some point. “We were in Cape Town this past April shooting with the former Miss South Africa, Jo Ann Strauss, and they actually took us to a real circus school. We were all jumping in trapes (inflatable bounce house), which was great fun, and we’re currently developing some different elements to include in our future happenings.”
We have an idea to do the world’s freshest ice cream bar that would be frozen with liquid nitrogen, and one of us would actually set ourselves on fire!
Okay, so when I said earlier that they don’t perform any tricks, I guess I should revise that a bit to say that they don’t perform many tricks, because when I press Mathias a little more, he informs me that he can juggle. “If you’re asking who of us can actually juggle with three balls in the air? Well then that answer is me. But, if you are talking about ‘juggling’ girls, well, all of us do that,” he smiled.
He goes on to inform me that their name is more just a reflection of the fun and lively atmosphere that they try and create at their events. Circus tricks or not, the guys are in high demand and their adventures have taken them, and their sense of humor, from Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, and Dubai to Hollywood and South Africa.
“This past June we were set to work a charity event in London for The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. Tor was the one that met her to plan everything around the event and he had some difficulties with the language, so he didn’t quite understand everything. So, me, Trond and Hans-Kristian decided to have a little fun. We convinced the event organizer to tell him that The Duchess was expecting a show on stage for the 100 celebrity guests. Tor got so nervous that he couldn’t sleep at all the night before the event. He even tried to plan something he could do and when the organizers asked to see the show, it was a total disaster and they told him it had to be better!” laughed Mathias. “That made him even more nervous and he didn’t know what to do. Just before he was supposed to go on stage to have the show, we told him it was all just a prank. He was so focused that he didn’t believe us at first! We ended up going on stage and auctioning off a dinner from the Flying Culinary Circus for $19,000 dollars to raise money for the charity, but it was the funniest prank ever. You should have seen Tor’s face,” said Mathias.
A group of good-looking guys that can cook and make me laugh? Circus tricks or not – I’m smitten.