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Swedish chef leads exit from 'culinary stone age'

Published: 08 Feb 2013 17:13 GMT+01:00

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."

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

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

17:46 February 8, 2013 by HelmiVainikka
Looks like Sweden will get its own Rämsay. ;)
19:39 February 8, 2013 by theobserver
OK, 30 years ago Sweden was in the stone age in gastronomy.

Now it is in the bronze age.

This is progress, I guess....
19:43 February 8, 2013 by byke
So a Swedish contest, featuring Swedish chefs .....

Found that out of all the Swedish chefs entering, it was a Swedish chef who won.

"organisers thrilled that the event strengthens Sweden's charge onto the worldwide culinary stage"

#Facepalm-Sweden
19:46 February 8, 2013 by theobserver
OK, 30 years ago Sweden was in the stone age in gastronomy.

Now it is in the bronze age.

This is progress, I guess....
20:54 February 8, 2013 by johan rebel
"the event strengthens Sweden's charge onto the worldwide culinary stage"

Yeah, right! As if anybody outside the borders of this navel-staring, smug and self-righteous country would ever take note, let alone care.
21:16 February 8, 2013 by byke
It would be interesting to know if the ingredients used, were what they claimed to be. Especially given that Sweden is so heavily implicated in the Findus horse meat scandal.
22:48 February 8, 2013 by theobserver
Swedish don't know how to eat. They will eat anything, especially if it is free. I have tried it many times; given them any kind of leftovers, any kind of rotten old candy (yes, sugar, as long as there is sugar they love it), any kind of old biscuits, ... no problem. They devour anything. There are a few reputable restaurants in Stockholm, where you have to pay a fortune, but as long as you go outside, ... forget it. The best food in most places in Sweden is the ICA.

So, when it comes to culinary prizes given to Swedes, as judged by Swedes, let us smile. They mean nothing at all. Who, outside Sweden, cares about them? In all honesty, Sweden has probably the worst, and simultaneously most expensive cuisine, in Europe.
05:31 February 9, 2013 by Flygger
I can't really say that fish with brussel sprouts has me drooling at the mouth and I can only wonder what dish came last in this competition.

I do like traditional Swedish food mind you even, as theobserver comments, if it does seem to consist of using up leftovers quite often.

Nothing wrong with that though but this fanciful claim the organizers made ?? Oh dear.. Wrong..
07:43 February 9, 2013 by skogsbo
byke, is Sweden implicated at all in the horse meat scandal, don't think so, so far!?

Plus, for his recipe, I doubt he was using jet washed off the bone meat to boost the protein content of his meal.
11:46 February 9, 2013 by Migga
These comments on here are amongst the most laughable and ridiculous I`ve seen, all lead by theobserver. I sure hope people don`t honestly belive what they write on here and are just trying to provoke or troll.
12:23 February 9, 2013 by Flygger
@Migga

Good for you !! You must know something that no-one else does.

Care to elucidate or are you just trying to provoke or troll yourself ??

Anyways, you are entitled to your own comments, as worthless as they are, the same as anyone else.

I just came on here to say that the horsemeat / Findus article has for some reason stopped taking or showing comments so this is actually directed to TL management. Sorry Migga but you just aren't important.

What the heck has happened TL ??? Why have you done this ??
12:25 February 9, 2013 by byke
Ikea meatballs, really are the dogs böllocks
17:15 February 10, 2013 by theobserver
@Migga:

As someone who has spent considerable amount of time in many European countries, I consider what I wrote a fact, based on evidence. It is not, as you perhaps believe, trolling.

The truth of the matter is that Sweden is ages behind in cuisine. There are, indeed, some good restaurants, but they are not for someone with an ordinary job because they are outrageously expensive. Good, inexpensive, food does not exist. This is because most Swedes I know are happy to eat anything. Especially if it is free. I used to be a cook, but gave it up in Sweden precisely because I don't believe that one should have to pay 1000 kronor to eat something decent.

This is why I said that Sweden is still in the bronze age of gastronomy. Surprising indeed, given the fact that many Swedes have traveled abroad and seen what good, and not so expensive, food can be like. At home, many are happy with skinka-ost tubes, frozen meatballs, and cans of sill. (Nothing wrong with sill, I eat it too, but I don't want to go to a restaurant and served food from cans or frozen food.)
12:21 February 11, 2013 by Migga
@ theobserver

Well even if you have several years of experience it still isn`t fact and all Swedes hardly feel or think like the ones you know. But sure the cost of food is high in Sweden but that`s because of long transports and taxes, but the price has nothing to do with the food itself. Judge it by taste, not cost.
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