Det naturliga köket

A glance at Sverige's natural cuisine, a working experience at Mathias Dahlgren's gastronomic restaurant Matsalen** and his modern bistro Matbaren*.

"With a Swedish identity on a regional platform, I create my cuisine open for local as well as global ingredients and influences, a cuisine based on natural produce and natural taste - the natural cuisine"
Mathias Dahlgren

There’s something about Sweden that keeps attracting me, about Scandinavia in general you could say. Why is that? The love for their amazingly beautiful nature for one, and their tremendous respect for it. Being curious about how that would translate in the kitchen, I looked for a restaurant where I could discover a part of their food culture, that until then was quite a mystery to me. It probably sounds a bit posh, but at that time, the list The World’s 50 Best Restaurants by The Magazine Restaurant seemed to be a good reference for a valuable experience. Keeping an eye on this list since a couple of years, it’s remarkable how the centre of influence in the kitchen is moving to new upcoming and underestimated food cultures. Scandinavia being one of them for instance. I admit, there are more surprising examples, but to me the rising of the North was relatively new. We could agree on the fact that France no longer holds the leading position in gastronomy I guess. And this doesn’t imply that the French cuisine doesn’t meet the level of high quality food anymore, it simply means that competition has increased, and we all do benefit from that.
What convinced me to apply for a kitchen stage at Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm, is his main focus on natural produce and his close contact with nature itself. It immediately struck me to see how professional his team is and how they were working so hard for this common goal, that is what is called devotion. But before being accepted as a member of this great team I had to answer one simple question correctly; "What happens to Mario when he eats a mushroom?". Felipe Rodrigues is Sous Chef at Matsalen** and undoubtedly one of the main driving forces behind the restaurant, he gained my eternal respect.

The few encounters I had with Mathias himself during my stay in his restaurants Matsalen** and Matbaren* appeared to be very inspirational. He learned me that there’s nothing wrong with copying from other chefs, “It takes many years to be able to create your own plates”. He also told me that he believes we should start from a raw material, a raw product, and build a dish around it. And why not start from unripe fruit or vegetables to do so; “What’s wrong with a green strawberry if that’s the flavour you’re looking for?” I’m still trying to figure that last one out by the way, but I like the idea behind it…

As my experience got to an end, I was invited to have diner at Matsalen**, quite an honour and an unforgettable treat for both the tongue and the eye. Stockholm and Mathias Dahlgren, strongly recommended!

Grand Hôtel Stockholm
Södra Blasieholmshamnen 6,
PO Box 16424
103 27 Stockholm

Another place in Stockholm you should certainly check out is Rosendals Trädgård, I could describe it as a little organic farm where they grow fruit and vegetables. But they also bake their own bread and organise loads of activities. You don’t need to understand Swedish to feel what they stand for if you have a look at their pictures on the Facebook page or website. Rosendals Trädgård is situated on the second biggest Island of Stockholm, close to the city centre, an island that even has so much more to offer you…

Rosendals Trädgård
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