“The job is very exciting. I have a lot of creative freedom, and can be a part of the process from the idea to the making and serving of the food. It’s a very good working environment here, and a very good kitchen. I especially like making Norwegian food, and I will have the opportunity to make that here at the embassy,” Ullerud said.
From a town just outside Oslo called Sørumsand, Ullerud started showing interest in cooking at an early age, sitting on the kitchen counter at his home watching his mother cook various dishes. At the age of 14, he began working in a restaurant kitchen as a dishwasher/cook where his interest for the culinary arts only grew.
In 2011, Ullerud graduated from culinary school and went straight into a two-year apprenticeship at the prestigious Ekebergrestauranten in Oslo. There he expanded his culinary skills by learning from Executive Chef Tore Aspås, among many others.
Since then, Ullerud has worked in several restaurants and hotels, mainly in Trondheim and Oslo, before heading to Washington, D.C.
As of January 2017, he is the new Executive Chef at the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Ullerud is excited to start his work at what some might consider one of Norway's most important kitchens in the world.
The Ambassador’s residence hosts more than 4,000 guests each year, everyone from government officials to business leaders, academics and partners in the bilateral Norwegian-American relationship.
Ullerud’s cooking is inspired by Asian, French and the new Nordic cuisine. As a chef at the embassy, Ullerud will make food for Norwegian ministers, U.S. congressional staffers, ambassadors and politicians.
“It will be a big challenge, but I also look forward cooking for guests at the residence. My time here at the embassy will be an important part of my career. I could have worked with something else, but working as a chef feels right for me,” Ullerud said.
He will enter the Embassy Chef Challenge in May, competing with chefs from other embassies in D.C. And through the Embassy Adoption Program, Ullerud will speak with a class at Turner Elementary School about the food habits of Norwegian kids before serving the class a typical Norwegian lunch.
As Executive Chef for the Norwegian embassy, Ullerud will also be a part of the Food Diplomacy Initiative started by the State Department, which aims to connect individuals, leaders and nations through food.
Norwegian chefs Even Ramsvik and Tom Viktor Gausdal have been an inspiration for Ullerud in his career. His favorite Norwegian dish is cured reindeer mixed with sugar and herbs. Ullerud likes to mix different tastes and cuisines, always with a Norwegian influence.