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Swedish chef leads exit from 'culinary stone age'

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17:13 CET+01:00
Swedish chef Daniel Räms took home gold in the nation's Chef of the Year competition on Friday, with organizers thrilled that the event strengthens Sweden's charge onto the worldwide culinary stage.

Daniel Räms, the 37-year-old head chef at Räms Mat & Gastronomi restaurant in Stockholm, was delighted to win at his fourth appearance at Sweden's Chef of the Year (Årets kock) competition.

"He was so happy, he almost started crying," Hanna Halpern, head of the competition, told The Local.

Räms was handed his prize by Prince Carl Philip.

The chef's winning dish was Arctic char grilled over birch wood chips and garnished with almonds and trout caviar. Sides focused on winter vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and yellow beets, alongside a cauliflower mousse accented with garlic and thyme.

IN PICTURES: See Daniel Räms preparing the winning dishes

But it wasn't just the winning dish that got organizers salivating.

"The whole competition went superbly, people were inspired," Halpern said.

"When we started this thing 30 years ago, Sweden was in the stone age in gastronomy. The only thing people knew about Sweden and cooking was The Swedish Chef from The Muppets."

She argued that not only has the quality of Sweden's top dining improved drastically, but the consumers are hungrier than ever for it.

"People are talking about the great chefs in Sweden, and consumers both here and abroad are interested," she told The Local.

"This growth on both sides means that the quality of cooking in Sweden is continuing to develop and that's very exciting."

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Second place in the competition went to Stockholm-based chef Johan Backeus, with third place going to Gothenburg native Jesper Bogren.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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