Q&A Niklas Ekstedt

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Niklas Ekstedt, Swedish chef, restaurateur

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking
If I absolutely had to pick one, it would be White Heat by Marco Pierre White. While I was at culinary school, we studied mainly old-school, French and prestigious cookbooks that were all quite similar. White Heat was full of energy, inspiring and ahead of its time

The food of love… What would you cook to impress a potential date?
That’s a really difficult question because for me, cooking for someone else really depends on their personality, likes and dislikes. I suppose that if it was a blind date, I would probably cook seafood. In particular, scallops; they’re so versatile and can be flavoured to suit the person. Of course, I would then pair it with a natural Italian white… delicious!

Your top five dinner guests, dead or alive

  1. John Lennon – I’ve always found him extremely intriguing as he has quite a hard personality to read. I’d want to have him at this dinner so I could really discover his personality.
  2. Salvador Dali – In an ideal world, he would co-host the dinner with me. I know that we would get on so well and it would be extremely fun.
  3. Olof Palme – As a previous prime minister of Sweden and as an active socialist I think he would have some  fascinating stories. He was well-known and liked and for that reason, he would make a wonderful dinner guest.
  4. Ferran Adria – He is an intellectual in gastronomy and therefore he would bring so much to the table. In addition, I love his philosophy and it would be great to discuss this with him.
  5. My mum, Annika – My mother would absolutely adore being at this dinner. She is so much fun and would have so much to talk about with every single person

Fast food –  your top snack tip
Sashimi with soya sauce. In particular, perch or pike perch, but a variety of fish would be ideal

Most memorable meal in film/literature/painting
The dinner from Bergman’s 1982 film, Fanny & Alexander

Your worst kitchen disaster
A while ago, I got my arm caught in the dough mixer while making bread. I ended up in hospital with a broken arm… Definitely one of my worst kitchen moments

What do you eat when you get home from the pub [or similar]
Aspirin. No food and if I really have to have something, it would be water

What would you like your final meal to be?

In Sweden, and I believe generally in Nordic countries, we don’t talk about death in the same way as the UK and the US. We don’t really talk about death at all actually, and if we do it’s never in an amusing way. It’s something I’ve noticed a lot while filming in America. Having said that though, my final meal would have to be white truffle from Alba on potatoes. But, only if it’s in season, if it isn’t then I’ll just have to wait to die until it’s back in season

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?
Snowboarding and skateboarding. I’ve got some pretty snazzy tricks up my sleeve on my board

What did you eat for breakfast today?
What I eat every day; muesli, yoghurt and coffee

Most over-rated/ under-rated food/seasoning/gadget

Over-rated seasoning: black pepper
It is on every table, in every restaurant in the world. A chef has just perfected the seasoning on your meal and the guest will grind a ton of pepper on top. I actually find it quite offensive.

Over-rated gadget: immersion circulator

Under-rated seasoning: lovage

Under-rated gadget: scissors
They’re a staple kitchen utensil; I’d be lost without them while cooking.

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on to your children
They’re the same recipe; my grandmother’s meatball recipe. I inherited it and I will pass it on to my boys. It contains three types of meat; veal, beef and pork, with cream, breadcrumbs, salt and nutmeg. It’s the best recipe I have ever been given and I will be proud to pass it on

 Niklas Ekstedt is appearing in Watch The Chefs’ Chefs, a new 10 part series looking at food culture and cooking on HuffPost UK, projects.huffingtonpost.co.uk/video/

Photo credit: Helén Pe