When it comes to looking at classic Nordic cuisine, it’s easy to get lost in the numerous forms and options. It’s one of the most diverse parts of the world when it comes to culinary tastes and standards, and it’s a major part of the reason why so many people go to visit the Nordic lands. However, one of the most popular names in the Nordic cooking industry is that of Magnus Nilsson. Nilsson runs the Faiken restaurant, one of the most popular names in the restaurant industry at this moment in time.
His story is one of the most interesting around and plays a key role in helping us to understand the unique transformation of Nordic cuisine from start to finish. This stems from the earliest memories of dicing up cucumbers for his grandmother at her farm to a famous story about cooking a dish for others aged only three, it was always likely that Nilsson would work in the cooking industry.
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At just 34, the Jamtland County-born expert in food may have already gone down an entirely different path. While it seemed that cooking was his destiny, in his own mind Magnus always wanted to be a marine biologist. Eventually, though, he went to culinary school when in Are, Sweden.
From there, he made his move to Paris where he began to work under the tutelage of the famous Alain Passard. Working at his tremendous L’Arpege, a Michelin starred restaurant of incredible repute, Nilsson hoped to pick up an exceptional amount from one of the biggest names in conventional cooking in a short space of time. However, limitations in his French meant that it was hard for him, and he lasted just two weeks!
Leaving the restaurant, he worked along Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance for three years, before losing his passion for cooking and decided to move into the world of wine writing. Before long, though, he was back in Sweden but felt like he was locked into merely imitating the work of Barbot.
Heading off to enology school, the Swede soon picked up some very interesting skills, working as a sommelier on the Faviken estate north of Stockholm. Working with them for three months at first, he worked there for the best part of a year working at the restaurant. A failure to find a chef-led to the natural decision to appoint Magnus and his New Nordic cuisine style.
He became famous for his locally-sourced cooking skills, using excellent preservation strategies to keep ingredients fresh through the challenging winters. The Magnus Nilsson restaurant soon grew to be one of the most impressive of its kind. He was even named among the top young chefs in the European circuit by The Wall Street Journal, among many other popular accolades ever since.
Now also known as a TV chef and a bit of a star thanks to his appearance on The Mind of a Chef and Chef’s Table, Magnus has become one of the most popular chefs in the industry. Why?
Well, part of it stems from Magnus’ unique nature when he takes on cooking tasks. Since he sources all of his produce locally, he quickly became a chef who was respected. He sourced all manner of various local Scandinavian ingredients, using some smart techniques to keep them well preserved, making sure that they go away and stay fresh by the 1st October, and don’t come out before April for use then.
He’s become a popular chef also due to the fact that he’s so accurate with his style. The restaurant that he runs ow is among the most popular on the planet, ranked in the Top 60 restaurants in the world as well as winning two Michelin stars of his own in 2016.
That New Nordic style is among the most popular of its kind, carrying a unique kind of culinary menu that breaks away from the dull and traditional norms expected. While it may only hold 16 seats, the cute and intimate nature of the location means that most people can easily settle in here and enjoy a more unique setting.
Add in the richness of the ingredients and quality of the cuisine, and it’s easy to see why Faviken is so uniquely popular.
Having decided to make his move into running his own restaurant after wishing to break away from simply replicating the work of others, Nilsson has set a future for himself that is very easy for other chefs to find as an inspiration for themselves later.
Serving a whopping 14-course style, including appetizers, Faviken looks to make sure that every meal served more than lives up to the expectations of those who come to visit. With vegetables smoked using leaves which have been decomposing for over a year, and with long-term storage of all ingredients ensuring the end product is simply outstanding.
Most of the dishes are quite theatrical in their design too, from the purposeful noisiness of the ice cream machine to the raw beef hearts which are often served in small, diced cube. The aim is to try and create as many local restaurant recipes as possible, with all manner of the different products used.
From fish caught local from the nearby pond to creative recipes using warm marrowbone, there’s all manner of wonderful experiences purposefully put together. Few restaurants go to the same lengths as Faviken to try and create that rich, heartening experience.
All of the recipes are often traced back to classic Nordic cuisine, using all manner of different products from different eras and parts of Scandinavian culture. Nilsson himself has made it clear that ‘New Nordic’ cuisine is a catch-all term that allows for the richness and creativity of Nordic cooking, helping it come to life in its own special way.
For this reason, then, there’s a simple understanding of why so many looks to Faviken and Magnus Nilsson for a special bite to eat; that rich style combined with the unique nature of Nordic culinary arts allows for the perfect blend of culinary culture, creativity, and quality.