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MAKING IT IN SWEDEN
Gareth Jones: cooking up success in Sweden

Gareth Jones: cooking up success in Sweden

Published: 10 Aug 2012 15:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Aug 2012 15:29 GMT+02:00

Welshman Gareth Jones, chef and co-owner of Stockholm-based British butchers and sausage-makers Taylors & Jones, speaks with The Local about language, "country-house culture" and what it takes to do your own thing in Sweden.

Gareth Jones came to Sweden in 1996 and swiftly started working as a chef at a British pub in Stockholm. After a few years of running a couple of restaurants in the capital, he teamed up with Irish butcher David Taylor in 2007 to create Stockholm's first British butchers, Taylors & Jones.

In the shop, which is located on Kungsholmen in Stockholm, Jones, Taylor and third partner Kerim Akkoc offer customers over 40 different types of sausages to choose from, as well as meats, cheeses and other specialties from the British isles.

The company also delivers to shops and restaurants across the country, as well as organize sausage-making courses and catering services.

The Local: So, why did you first come to Sweden?

Gareth Jones: It was the ususal reason, really. I met a Swedish girl while I was working in Greece and then followed her back to Sweden.

TL: What did you do before coming here?

GJ: I had actually been travelling around in Asia, Australia and Europe working in kitchens for something like eight years prior to coming to Sweden.

TL: What did you do when you first came to Sweden?

GJ: I sort of walked into my first job actually, as a chef at the Beefeater pub in Stockholm.

TL: How long did it take you to learn Swedish? Is that important for an expat?

GJ: It took me about two years to become fluent in Swedish. I think that it is crucial to learn the language. Foreigners sometimes get stuck moving in the same expat circles and just end up moaning about the country they’re in. If you want to be able to laugh with people you must share their language.

TL: How did you begin doing what you are doing now?

GJ: The idea behind an establishment like Taylors & Jones is one that I had had almost from day one in Sweden. But it wasn’t until I had sold off two restaurants that I was part-owner of that I was finally in a position to make it a reality. And David Taylor, the other co-owner, had approached a friend of mine with a similar idea - and he was referred to me.

TL: What was the easiest/most difficult thing with trying to ‘make it’ in Sweden?

GJ: I really think that Swedes are open to new ideas and that makes it easier to start something new and different here. When we first opened we had a lot of British and expat customers, but to be honest, we wouldn’t have been able to manage just on that. It was when the Swedes found us that things really started moving.

The most difficult thing I guess is all the rules and regulations that you have to get through to start your own company here.

TL: What are the keys for an expat to ‘make it’ in Sweden?

GJ: The key to making it in Sweden is the same as anywhere else, really – hard work. Also, as a foreigner setting up a business one must work harder in the beginning. Later it may even work in your favour that you hail from somewhere else, but in the beginning you must really prove yourself.

TL: What would be your advice to someone thinking about trying to start a company or do their own thing in Sweden?

GJ: I think it is important to try to learn the language as quick as possible. Also, when starting your first company in Sweden, it isn’t a bad idea to team up with a Swede who already knows how things work here. That certainly helps when it comes to getting advice on all the regulations.

TL: What do you like most about Sweden? What do you hate most?

GJ: I love the quality of life that we enjoy here. We all moan about everyday things, but then we can go away and enjoy a four-week holiday. I also love the sort of “country-house culture” that exists here, where a lot of people have their own place in the country to retreat to on the weekends and during their time off.

What I do find difficult, though, is how people don’t talk to each other. I have to go home to Wales to get my dose of everyday friendliness. And when I return it's difficult to get back in the swing of ignoring people again, as is done here a lot of the time.

TL: Here at The Local, we have an on-going feud regarding the word elk versus the word moose. How would you best translate the Swedish word älg to English? Say, in the sentence: “there is definitely no älg in this sausage”?

GJ: Well, I think the correct way of saying it would be elk, though I know the American usage of the word moose is taking over. I would definitely say elk.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here

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Your comments about this article

16:15 August 10, 2012 by skylarkpilot
Absolutely fantastic sausages, even available at ICA Maxi in Borlänge, but at 200kr a kilo I find it's cheaper to make my own even if they don't taste so good. So, sorry Gareth, love your work but can't afford you !
16:59 August 10, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Sorry, but I prefer the word "Moose" over "Elk"! :)
19:00 August 10, 2012 by Mb 65
I used them when I first came to Sweden I don't any more because they are too expensive.
19:07 August 10, 2012 by Stonebridge
Elk or Moose? It's purely a difference between British and American usage, not a matter of whether one is "correct" or not.

The Local seems to suffer from a surfeit Americanisms.
19:14 August 10, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
@ Stonebridge - no, it's just that in North America an elk is a much smaller animal (basically a big deer). A Moose in the U.S. & Canada is much more like these Swedish älg.
19:52 August 10, 2012 by skatty
The paradox of Gareth the Welshman:

According to Gareth foreigners sometimes get stuck moving in the same expat circles and just end up moaning about the country they're living in, and his suggestion is if you want to be able to laugh with people you must share their language! However, according to same Gareth, what he finds difficult is that Swedes don't talk with each other (what about foreigners, probably should be even harder!).

Now, can somebody tell me how the hell foreigner suppose to learn a language to laugh with the people, who Gareth find that people hard to speak with each other.

Whatever is the use of Swedish language; it's certainly not for laughing with people; practically you can't laugh with people, who don't talk with each other!
20:07 August 10, 2012 by StockholmSam
A Swedish "älg" is "moose" in both American and British English. A North American elk is "vapiti" in Swedish.
00:04 August 11, 2012 by Svensksmith
An elk can weigh up to 1100 pounds, a moose up to 1800 pounds.

Both taste great!
00:37 August 11, 2012 by JohnnyEnglish
No it's not StockholmSam. The word "moose" doesn't exist in british english.
11:10 August 11, 2012 by Stonebridge
My Swedish-British English dictionary (Holt, Rinehart & Winston - Esselte) translates the Swedish älg as elk. It then states that moose is American English.

At the other end of the dictionary it translates elk as (europeisk) älg, and states that this creature is referred to as kanadahjort or nordamerikansk vapiti in North America.

The animal found in Sweden is an elk, not a moose, in British English.

Do your research. Check Wikipedia for an informative review of the difference between the words.
14:04 August 11, 2012 by calebian22
"The key to making it in Sweden is the same as anywhere else, really - hard work. Also, as a foreigner setting up a business one must work harder in the beginning. Later it may even work in your favour that you hail from somewhere else, but in the beginning you must really prove yourself."

Truer words have never been written/uttered. This goes for any kind of employment in Sweden.
15:06 August 12, 2012 by JulieLou40
Love Taylor & Jones, friendly, and with fantastic service.
19:08 August 12, 2012 by Bushyblondehead
Whats this drawing, looks spooky!
11:11 August 13, 2012 by Shibumi
Fantastic sausages and even tastier pasties and pies. I do, however, agree that their logo is a bit creepy. Those three guys look like like they're chopping up small children to put in the sausages!
16:22 August 13, 2012 by alecLoTh
Ditto on the creepy logo. Branding is not only crucial, it is free. Why would someone cook up something like this, it conjurs horrible thoughts
08:49 August 15, 2012 by smilingjack
Its amazing that swedes have no idea of what the rest of the world is like. Their "butchers" and I use the term very loosely wouldnt half 1/4 the range of an average supermarket in australia.

What they do have is stupidly priced. You use entrecote to cover just about everything.

Yes australia has caviar and all the varieties of salmon etc you think are only available in sweden. fresh fresh and fresh and 1/3 the price you pay. oysters, mussles, vongole, real lobsters. pheasant, quail, turkey, goose all available cheaply at the localmarket.

Good sausages available everywhere in oz are 70kr a kilo - at the most. More likely 40 -50kr and a huge range. Top notch rib eye fillet on the bone is maybe 100kr a kilo. here its a slab ( uncut ) of fatty force fed usa meat at 400 - 600kr kr a kilo. no wonder they were able to set up a business. fresh kangaroo fillet back home is 100kr a kilo - here the "butcher" kept a straight face trying to flog me frozen roo steak for 700kr.

sorry guys I tried your rib eye on the bone once - it was OK but way too fatty for our taste and 4 times what I would normally pay for it. Swedes are eating the yank stuff where the cows are jammed into feed lots and forced fed to the point where they just about die from a coronary to get them stupidly fat. There is more fat then meat and full of hormones

I understand you have a 25% gst but your still way more expensive then oz.

only 3 months to go before Im eating fresh prawns, lamb rack and grass fed rib eye. washed down with a proper south australian shiraz. if you want good food at great prices - come to australia. its winter back home snow on the slopes and 21c in sydney.
09:18 August 16, 2012 by SalamanderClub
Ja, they're a bit expensive, but we've not yet found anyone else who makes sausages like theirs. They even make an excellent South African boerewors!

You'll find a mention of Taylor and Jones porkies on page 355 of The Salamander Club ...

www.salamanderclub.com
22:36 August 18, 2012 by Ashlito
See you later Jack, don't let the door hit you on the way out. Realize it is NOT Australia, so hence they will not have the same demand for products available at home.

I too miss dearly the easy access to quality butchers(well any butchers) back in AUS (not Oz, oz is where the wizard lives!!) but I source out local providers and cut out the middle man and get extremely awesome prices on meat, chicken, veg, seafood etc. close to Australian prices and fresher because it's straight from the farm.

Yep it's a bit harder but f"@k it, I find it more fun & now I have heaps of selection.

Stores anywhere are going to gouge people if they can especially in STHLM.

Seek and you will find..

Maybe only us from south of the border can sniff out a good bargain;)
12:27 August 21, 2012 by Hisingen
All bitching about prices on one side, I am wondering how these butchers compare the ways of cutting a carcase - especially lamb - between the UK and the Swedish ways. I find that very often in the shops here where they have a butchery department cutting their own carcases, that the end result is a total ruination of many of the best cuts.

I won't go into the fad of cutting off all the fat from the meat, either. Fat that has to be replaced in some way when roasting the meat ! ! !
11:42 September 29, 2012 by swedeninternational
Gareth, without doubt...the only way to integrate and become part of society is to at least be able to understand the language and either respond in English or Swedish. This is what I do - respond in English. Although, ultimately, for folk to completely understand you, it's Swedish.

I'm a Scotsman living up in Norrbotten (yes, same story...met a woman...). The lack of communication between Swedes is much worse up here. However, without tarring the whole country with the same brush there is a lot of very genuinely friendly people.

I'll have to visit your shop for some sausages some time - good luck with your business.

Andy
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