Feb 25 Everything about the Stockholm restaurant
Frantzen, which serves just 120 diners per week from menus
created daily, is personal. Head chef and owner Bjorn Frantzen
wouldn't have it any other way.
In his cookbook, "World-Class Swedish Cooking: Artisanal
Recipes from One of Stockholm's Most Celebrated Restaurants,"
which he wrote with his former pastry chef and former co-owner
Daniel Lindeberg, Frantzen weaves together their recipes,
culinary theory and personal history.
"Keeping it small and intimate gives me great opportunity to
create unique opportunities for my guests," Frantzen said,
adding that it's all about the ingredients.
Opened as Frantzen/Lindeberg in 2008, the bistro-sized
restaurant has garnered two Michelin stars and is ranked No. 12
on the World's Best Restaurant list of 2013, which is organized
by Britain's Restaurant magazine and sponsored by the mineral
water company S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.
Frantzen, 37, said in a phone interview from Stockholm about
his Asian-influenced Nordic cuisine, his gardens, and his first
career choice: soccer.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: Sooner or later, after a couple of years, you believe you
have something to say.
Q: Who is it aimed at?
A: Industry people, foodies, someone who might give it as a
present. The book is more like a philosophy of cooking, so
obviously you need to have some sort of food interest.
Q: Did you always want to be a chef?
A: Since I was 11. I used to be a professional soccer
player, but had to quit at 19 because of injury. When I was 11,
I decided if I can't do football I will do cooking. Cooking was
my second choice. It was fairly easy once the football career
failed to know what to do.
Q: Where did you train?
A: I did two years in the culinary institute but at that time
I was still playing football so school wasn't my biggest passion
in life. Culinary school in Sweden was pretty bad, if you want
to be honest. I went abroad and did five years in London ... and
then I went to Paris and worked in a three-star Michelin
(restaurant). I learned by working, basically.
Q: What would you like to say about Swedish cuisine?
A: It's a very giant gastronomy, and there's a lot happening.
We don't have the same strong tradition as Italian or French
cuisine, so it's a very exciting time in Sweden at the moment
... people are really improving and becoming proud of their own
Q: Describe the cuisine at Frantzen.
A: I would call it Nordic kaiseki (traditional multicourse
Japanese meal). (It is) very ingredient-driven.
Q: Your restaurant is known for its white menus. Exactly what
is a white menu?
A: You don't really have a menu when you arrive in the
restaurant. It's more day-to-day that we decide what we do,
driven by what we have. We have two gardens so that's a big part
of what we do.
Q: Do you have any tips for the home cook?
A: (There are) two things that will improve your cooking big
time, and they're not salt and pepper. They're salt and acidity.
And that could be anything from the most basic thing, which is
fresh-squeezed lemon, but it could be wine and vinegar. And get
a cooking thermometer so you can see the temperature because you
can overcook big time at home.
Q: Any future plans?
A: I always have plans. At the moment, we're building our own
test kitchen. I'm very excited about that. That's what I'm into
Butter-fried pancakes of almond potatoes and pig blood
16 oz. boiled sifted almond potatoes
9 oz. pig blood
1 tablespoon potato flour
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon Swedish dark syrup
3 tablespoons dark beer of a Bavarian variety
Cut the veal bacon brunoise (very tiny cubes) and fry. Blend
all of the ingredients except the egg whites. Later, carefully
fold in the unwhisked egg whites so that they keep their
Fry the mixture in a generous amount of butter in a griddle.
Sprinkle veal bacon on top of the raw surface before you turn
over the pancake. Fry the sides quickly so that the pancake
remains creamy inside.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Amanda Kwan)