Leon Haarberg Nilsen was born in Trondheim, the city that will host the European selection of the Bocuse d’Or in March 2024. That has to be a sign! It’s also the city where Christopher Davidsen reigns supreme at Speisesalen, the restaurant where Leon would spend seven months as an apprentice before joining the Thon Hotels group. That’s where Filip August Bendi works as head of culinary creation. A path dotted with some tremendous encounters for Leon who loves cooking as much as he does competing! Well aware of that, Filip recruited him as commis chef, and Leon poured all his energy and a remarkable technical talent into assisting him.
When he isn’t at the stove, he needs that same energy and a touch of adrenaline; on the agenda: gymnastics, snowboarding in winter – a sport that he discovered with his father… and, wait for it: cliff jumping, a hobby that consists in making a huge dive from clifftops! It all helps in forging the steely mindset required to one day confront the Bocuse d’Or as a candidate.
His advice to commis chefs in contests:
We’ve entered a new era in the culinary world, be humble, be patient. If you see someone floundering, help him get up, work harder than everyone else, you’ll be terrific!