Mikael Svensson – Kontrast Restaurant, *Michelin

Im from Sweden, the south part called Skåne. I have been living in Oslo since 2008 and in November 2013 I opened Restaurant Kontrast. We gained our first michelin star in February 2016. Im 34 years old and have been cooking since I’m 16. In my career I have been working both in modern european and scandinavian kitchens and with classic old french cuisine before I went nordic with my own restaurant.

Can you tell me about your day at work ??

My day starts when I wake up in the morning, thirst thing I do is to check my messages and emails from suppliers just to make sure everything we ordered is coming and its right. Then I have my breakfast and go to work. Normally I’m at the restaurant at 10. Check thru the rest of the mails, makes some phonecalls or meeting or what has to be taken care off.

At 11:30 I’m changed and in the kitchen. Supervising the preparations or testing new things or just helping out if needed.

At 16 we clean down the kitchen and set up for the evening and have a family meal. I try to sneak off to the gym for 45 min if I can. then I’m back at 17;30 and we have a briefing. We go thru the menu tonight, brief the kitchen staff and front of house of the guest and of the night or if there is any special request and so on. 18:00 we open and service starts. Im normally in the pass running the kitchen plating everything with a cook or my sous-chef. at 23 it starts to slow down and most of the food is out and I’m back at the computer taking care of the rest of back office things that I need to handle. Normally I’m out of the restaurant between 1 and 2 in the night. sometimes later.

What was the first dish that you’ve done as a chef?

As a trained chef at a restaurant I think it was a recipe from the Swedish Culinary teams cookbook that came out in 98 or something like that. It was a spice rubbed piece of salmon roasted in a dry pan if I remember correctly. This must have been around 99-00 something.

Who is the model for you to follow?

Mathias Dahlgren for his ledership, Quique Dacosta for his playfullness with the food and Esben Holmboe Bang for his determination to do what he is doing in this part of the world

Do you have your dream place where would you like to work?

Right here at my own restaurant, there is no other place I would like to be.

Do you cook at home?

yes of course. but I’m not at home so much

What would you prepared for me in 10 minutes … i mean some food ;-)?

Langoustine tartar

What would like to have as last meal in life?

panfried herring, potato mash, lingonberry and brownbutter

What flavours you are most faithful?

Nordic sweet and sour

What do you think about current trends in gastronomy?

If the trends are that chefs are getting more involved in where the ingredients are coming from, that they a grown and treated with respect and thought. That we realize that we can’t continue to use and waste food as we have done then I think we are going in the right direction

What was the most important moment in Your professional chefs life?

Probably when i got my first job as a chef de partie at michelin stared restaurant at the age of 20. When I saw the difference from a place that thought they cooked good food to a place that actually cooked really good food. For me to see what it takes was very educational

Do you want to make your children have gone in Your footsteps / chef steps?

I dont have any children, but if I get I hope they do what ever makes them happy. If its cooking, being a plumber, doctor or lawyer it doesn’t matter as long as they feel they are successful and happy with there life.

Private lives there ? How it looks like?

The last couple of years is been very hectic with the restaurant. I have the sundays of that I spend with my fiancé  and friends. Also try to play some ice hockey on Sundays and Monday evening.

What was the funniest situation at the kitchen, is it some fun there?

There is always something to laugh about. We spend a lot of time together in the Kitchen so its important that we can have fun together also. But all the really good stories we keep to ourselves.

What advice do you have for young cooks?

As in everything here in life, doesn’t matter if its football, cooking or swimming, you have to put down a lot of hours at it to be come good. Practice makes perfect.

In which country is, in Your opinion, the most beautiful/interestig kitchen?

I like the nordic approach to things but I think there is something interesting in every country. There is so many interesting chefs, cooks, restaurant and places around the world so its hard to say just one or two.

Photos on your instagram, are so beautiful. Are you doing it? is it a long preparation?

Most of it is just quick pictures of plates during service, plates that we are sending out to the guest. Its very rare that we plate food just for Instagram.

photo: Mikael Svensson, Kontrast

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