In May-ish 2015 a documentary aired on Channel 4 called World’s Most Expensive Food. Among other pricey delectables, it featured smoked salmon from Hansen & Lydersen, a tiny Norwegian smokery based out of a London cellar.Among other artisanal methods, born Norwegian Ole Hansen serenades his gently smoking fish with jazz he picks out on an old piano. His clients testify his jazz-infused salmon just ‘tastes better’.
The story went viral. Many declared bored London billionaires had reached the height of folly. It prompted anger, laughter, disbelief, and much-needed discussion about the capital’s rising prices. It was near-priceless publicity for Hansen & Lydersen, whose whole process is saturated with story:
“When I was five years old I had this amazing smoked salmon on my grandfather’s homemade bread … eating this when the midnight sun is coming up on the Arctic tundra.” – Ole Hansen
I can’t afford some, but I sure as hell want some. Would his smoked salmon be as good without the jazz? Probably. Does Hansen believe in his method? Absolutely.
Is it a scam? No. It’s turning a good story into an asset. An excellent narrative is expensive second-hand experience, it’s the one inexhaustible indulgence the rich can buy when they’ve wrung out every last cruise, skydive or test drive the world has to offer. It’s ‘dinner banter’, as another documentary interviewee eloquently put. It’s worth every penny.
(image credit: lovefoodlondon.com)