Jørn Tore Persen is a trained chef, and is one of two founders of The Norwegian Beer Academy. Originally from Lakselv in northern Norway, Jørn Tore views the region around his hometown as heaven on earth for food lovers, with wild salmon, Kamchatka crab, cloudberries and reindeer. He now lives in Oslo.
What are three things you wish people knew about you?
I care a lot about LGBTQ rights and regularly take part in Oslo Pride.
I love talking to older people—my 84-year-old neighbor has so many good stories!
I always stop at a church in every new place I visit. Not because I am religious (though I do believe in a God), I just find that churches have a calming effect on me.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud to spread knowledge about beer and beer history to the population in several major cities in Norway. We are the leading course provider on beer in Norway with about 13,000 customers yearly.
What is your most cherished possession?
My father’s wedding ring. And my sister Vivian has my mother’s. I often look at this ring and think back on my wonderful childhood.
What is your favorite thing to splurge on?
Rare beers and beer books.
When traveling, what do you never leave home without?
A beer- and wine-opener!
Where is your all-time favorite travel destination?
I love all the capitals in the Nordic countries, but I’d have to say Berlin, Germany. It’s a city with huge diversity, and it never sleeps. Here, you are never alone. The people are welcoming, helpful and polite. In Berlin, I can truly be myself and take in every aspect of the city, with history, great beer and food, sightseeing and shopping. The gay scene is also very good.
Describe the perfect weekend in Oslo.
Start with lunch at Fyret, which serves Norwegian Salmon and Aquavit.
Do some shopping at Eger, a small shopping center in Karl Johans gate.
Friday evening should be spent in Bjørvika with The Norwegian National Opera & Ballett and the spectacular architecture of Barcode. Eat at Våghals, a restaurant with unique Norwegian food, and end the evening at one of the best bars in the world, Himkok.
Saturday, I recommend Viking Ship Museum and Much Museum before heading to Grünerløkka, where Edvard Munch grew up. This is the working class area that has turned into a fashion hub, filled with modern cafes and laid-back bars, independent boutiques and young, trendy residents. Visit The Norwegian Beer Academy, Ølakademiet, for a beer tasting session and have dinner at Håndverkerstuene in the city center. At the bar Røør, you find 70 different beers on tap.
Have a lazy Sunday and enjoy one of the many parks in Oslo. It’s fun to people-watch and take part in a typical day off in Norway, as most shops are closed on Sundays.
Tell us about your favorite eating experience in Oslo.
With the slogan “sour beer – raw fish”, Bar Babylon stands out from most other restaurants.
What is the most unique thing visitors can do in Oslo?
Use the city’s clean sea and woods. Oslo is a relatively small city, but is surrounded by huge woods, and green parks are spread throughout the city. In the summer, you can swim in the sea, right in the middle of the city center – both at Sørenga and Tjuvholmen. Or take a public boat to one of the many islands in Oslo’s fjord for a picnic and swim. In the winter, ski is only a short metro ride away. Oslo Vinterpark has both cross country and downhill opportunities.
What is the perfect souvenir from Oslo?