Three Leading Chefs Weigh in On the Foods Bound for Next Year’s Hottest Menus
Asked to nominate singular ingredients, culinary wizards Craig Thornton, Magnus Nilsson and Yotam Ottolenghi said they look forward to playing around in their kitchens with South American Surinam cherries, barley, and lemon geranium water, respectively. Thornton was recently the subject of a major profile in The New Yorker that cited his underground supper club, Wolvesmouth, as the hardest reservation to come by in L.A. Israeli-born, London-based restaurateur and cookbook sensation Yotam Ottolenghi has been at the center of the British food scene since opening his eponymous eatery in 2002. Swedish sensation Magnus Nilsson meanwhile rules the roost at Fäviken Magasinet, a rustic critics’ favorite situated on 24,000 acres of remote farmland in Järpen, 750 kilometers north of Stockholm. Here the gastro pioneers expand on their select future palate-pleasers.
Craig Thornton: I’m always most excited about the new vegetables and fruits at the farms or farmers markets. Lately, I've been excited about Surinam cherries.
Yotam Ottolenghi: I am excited about the finds and rediscoveries I made on my recent journey around the Med: lemon geranium water and various types of flaked chilies such as urfa and aleppo. The geranium blossom is so fresh and wonderfully scented that I can see using it in many desserts and cakes but also in vegetable salads and white meat marinades. The chilies are smoky and mysterious and open up a whole range of options in both slow-cooked stews and freshly grilled vegetables and salsas.
Magnus Nilsson: Barley! We are going to brew our own beer!
The Mastermind Behind Fäviken Magasinet On the Rewards of “Real Food”
Photographer Howard Sooley captures snowy forest vistas, 19th-century farmhouses, and homegrown delicacies in and around restaurant Fäviken Magasinet in northern Sweden. Set on 24,000 acres of pristine farmland in Järpen, some 750 kilometers north of Stockholm, the 12-seat restaurant is currently one of the hottest culinary spots in Europe. It reportedly has a two- to three-month waiting list––no small feat in a region that on average is inhabited by a single person per square kilometer. Having cut his teeth in Michelin-starred restaurants L'Arpège and L'Astrance, chef Magnus Nilsson took the reins of Fäviken Magasinet in 2008 and set out to create his own version of Scandinavian locavore cuisine. Using seasonal produce, sourcing ingredients locally, and cooking with traditional Swedish techniques, Nilsson has fostered a rustic experience that he refers to as rektún or “real food.” With Fäviken’s grounds covered in snow for six months out of the year, Nilsson relies on pickling, fermenting, curing and other old-fashioned preservation techniques through winter. “It’s not a challenge and no one has forced me to do this,” says Nilsson. “I’ve chosen it, and I really feel it pushes us to be creative and break boundaries.” Here the Swedish chef reveals some of the ingredients for a typical night at Fäviken Magasinet.
Which dish takes the longest to prepare?
The slowest dish we have is ribeye of beef—the whole process of choosing the animal, fattening it on grass, butchering and aging takes more than a year.
Do you have pre-shift traditions or superstitions?
We always have a staff meal at 3:30; this includes a briefing about the night ahead. However, on Saturdays we’ll have a three-course staff meal that includes wine, so the staff will always be extra happy on weekends. After service I make everyone pineapple pizza.
Can you name a few key ingredients? How much do you use in a night?
We use 16kg, or €400-worth, of homegrown veggies—the most expensive thing we ever serve. Sixteen tablespoons of fresh blood (pig, goose, duck or cow). 1,600 grains of trout roe (we don’t really count them every day, just once).
Any recent kitchen mishaps?
Mishaps takes place every day, in different degrees of seriousness, from a chef holding the leek in the wrong way when rinsing it so that sand is pushed in among the leaves, to things going completely rotten in the process of preservation, to experiments ending up rather unhealthy to serve. The process of discovering new or old techniques of preservation is always risky. When we work on something, we continuously send samples to a laboratory for analysis. You would be surprised what sometimes starts growing in them in the process...
Favorite post-service nightcap?
See Magnus Nilsson's recipe for scallops over burning juniper branches on our Facebook page.
Margot Bowman Concludes Her Surreal Vision of the Holiday Season
Whimsical decorations light up with life and come together in a celebratory frenzy in the last chapter of artist and designer Margot Bowman's three-part, animated holiday premonitions series. The London-based illustrator used holographic paper to create a luminous, ethereal Christmas tree for a future in which plant life has ceased to exist naturally in the human world. An angle-like figurehead with magical powers sweeps in to top off the trimmings. Here Bowman opens up to NOWNESS about her favorite holiday traditions, imagining what she might be doing when the 2062 holiday season finally does roll around.
What is your favorite part of Christmas?
Waking up and knowing that it is a magical day, and helping my mother to make food with recipes that I’ll never work out alone!
What will you be eating for Christmas dinner 2012?
My mother’s home made gravlax (Nordic smoked salmon with dill), which is amazing.
If you weren’t home for Christmas, where would you like to be?
Floating in outer space.
What's at the top of your Christmas wishlist?
What are your favorite Christmas decorations?
My grandmother made these decorations years ago which resemble bows which you attach to the branches of the tree with wire. They are tactile and were made with love, which is ultimately what this time of the year should be about.
Where will you be for Christmas in 2062?
In my water-based high-rise building with family, friends and magical Christmas decorations!