The Koch who came home

Acclaimed chef de cuisine (and MasterChef judge) Jesper Koch was born and raised in South Jutland. He cannot recall ever not being passionate about or interested in food. Because good produce, ingredients, the craft of cookery and its traditions have always been part of his everyday life.

Jesper’s grandmother was a phenomenal cook. In her own cosy kitchen, she cooked the fish Jesper caught in Genner Bay. When the first fresh vegetables of summer arrived, she and Jesper would make Snysk, which, in keeping with tradition, is served with smoked pork. Smoky flavour is also an element of Jesper’s favourite dish Skrædderduels, as well as many other regional South Jutland dishes. When the region was ceded to Prussia after the Second Schleswig War in 1864, German butchers settled here bringing with them proud sausage-making and smoked-food traditions. This rubbed off on the local cuisine. This was also the era when the renowned pastry buffet of South Jutland emerged, and Jesper’s grandmother truly mastered the art of baking, too. Nuts and berries from former fringe areas, once grazed by medieval village cattle, as well as the fruits of the garden and orchard were transformed into sumptuous cakes, pastries and desserts in varieties only found in an authentic South Jutland pastry buffet.

In fact, there is no single right recipe in South Jutland: the only “right” recipe is one that a family has passed down from one generation to the next. This was also the case with Jesper’s family, and before he was even old enough to peer over a kitchen counter, their traditions were on their way to the next generation.

Syttende is Jesper Koch’s vision and dream of giving something in return to the region and cuisine which have helped shape him. After having worked for an impressive array of restaurants in Denmark and abroad, including a number of Michelin two-star and three-star restaurants, and having founded a number of restaurants in the Aarhus area, this South Jutland chef has come home. To South Jutland. To Syttende. To something brand-new, inspired, age-old insight into the cookery craft. To a luxurious setting where gastronomy and hand-picked produce from every corner of the world are elevated to new heights. To a new restaurant that does not intend to follow modern trends – but to set them.

For Syttende’s kitchen, Jesper Koch personally chose executive chef Peter Rødsgaard, who he brought home from Stockholm. Here, in the years before the opening of Syttende, Peter was part of the gastronomic success of The Grand Hotel, including a number of Michelin-star restaurants.

Peter shares Jesper’s stellar ambitions, as well as an inability to compromise on quality and taste. Peter’s biggest passion is vegetables and modern vegetarian cuisine – a passion that blends with Jesper’s love of the traditional and the classical to shape Syttende’s cuisine. Here, tradition and innovation meet, with the ingredients allowed to play the starring role.

Peter is constantly searching for the very best ingredients. He loves the personal interaction with Syttende’s numerous small producers. When the season’s first crops are ready for tasting, or when a new season is being planned, Peter can usually be found in his wellington boots around the region’s fields and orchards in the company of local farmers.