Henrik Orre

The velo chef with a love for Primus

A dedicated chef with more than 20 years of experience in professional cooking, both indoors and outdoors. Henrik has written three cookbooks inspired by cycling and food, has worked with Primus on numerous projects, including testing products and writing recipes, and now operates his own restaurant, Vélochef Clubhouse in Oslo, Norway.

Henrik grew up in a family in which cycling and good food along with an active outdoor lifestyle were a large part of the day. From an early age, Henrik dreamed of becoming a chef and has spent his entire adult life working with food, both indoors and out-doors. He has cooked at elite restaurants, for racing cyclists all over Europe and now, for two young children on their local outdoor adventures.

One day Henrik received a phone call from the head of the Norwegian National Cycling Team, who was also a good friend of Henrik’s father, asking him to help find a cook for the team. Henrik, who had been a head chef for several years at one of Sweden’s most prestigious restaurants, decided to take the job himself and suddenly found himself on a new career path.

Not long after, he started working as a chef for the “Team Sky” cycling team in Great Britain. The team was sponsored by SKY television, and they competed in races like the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. For five years he prepared breakfast and dinner every day for up to four weeks at a time.  A very strict, ideally composed, carbohydra-te-loaded diet. The team didn’t just get a new chef, they got Henrik, and suddenly the food became more than just a source of ener-gy. They had been used to overcooked pasta, bland tomato sauces and overdone chicken. By simply cooking the pasta properly, preparing the chicken so it was juicy and adding a flavorful tomato sauce, he made a huge difference.

It was during this period that Henrik began wri-ting cookbooks in the Vélochef series, the first

of which was based on the food he made for the team. The other books had different themes, and the final book is completely devoted to out-door cooking and gravel cycling. This is the niche to which Henrik belongs and thrives today. To him, cycling is a wonderful way to get exercise that is kind on the body, but also a way to enjoy nature and make him feel good at the same time. The feeling of heading out on a long ride and then preparing a meal outdoors in a nice spot is truly living life to the fullest. One of the nicest things you can do, he explains.

If you’re planning a long-er bike ride, Henrik says that you should prepa-re with the utmost care. Eliminate a lot and plan more. You don’t want to carry a backpack when cycling and having too much packed on the side of the bicycle is not a good idea either. For this reason, Henrik usually sli-ces up the vegetables and mixes spices at home and then packs everything in Ziplock bags. A bag takes up much less space than a food container and it’s a good feeling knowing that your pack shrinks on long rides. Then you have to prio-ritize he says. Eat your fresh items first and save the ingredients that will keep for the final few days. Just like you do for hiking. He saves his favorite recipe, “Pasta Cacio e Pepe,” for the fifth day. A recipe that is incredibly light and calls for only a few in-gredients that last a long time. All you need is spaghetti, a pat of butter, fresh parmesan cheese and pepper. You get carbohydrates from the pasta and fat and protein from the butter and cheese. Incredibly delicious.

The idea for starting a restaurant came during the COVID pandemic, and being the goal-oriented person that he is, today Henrik finds himself in downtown Oslo in his own newly opened restaurant desig-ned for lovers of food and cycling. Vélochef Clubhouse serves more than just breakfast, lunch and dinner based on the four seasons and select local ingredients. The restaurant is also a popular gathering place for cyclists. In the mornings, groups of cyclists will show up to eat a light breakfast and drink an excellent cup of coffee, and every Satur-day, the restaurant brings together a group who head out cycling for a couple of hours, switching every other time between paved country roads and gravel roads. They finish off at the restaurant with a meal, beverage and a cycling snack.

Oslo is a magical place to live for cyclists, with 550 kilometers of gravel roads located only a 20-minute bike ride from the city and featuring magnificent natural scenery to explore. A bicycle makes it possible to get out into nature quickly and gives you more time to explore than if you were to take a walk from town. It’s easy to pack a Lite Plus stove with a coffee press and cup so you enjoy lunch and a coffee perched somewhere overlooking the city instead of sitting in a crowded street cafe. Henrik has long been a fan of the Lite Plus stoves and appreciates the new graphics used for the Feed Zone products. He believes they will become popular as he sees a growing interest throughout the world in the out-doors and cycling. This is a welcome trend in a market that has not really focused on cooking before.

February 07 2022