Introducing… ‘Food’ Tina

Sweden's answer to Martha Stewart, Tina Nordström mixes southern charm with a cheeky sense of humour, as Paul O'Mahony explains in his weekly briefing on the Swedes in the news.

Who is she and why is she famous?

Tina Nordström is Sweden’s most famous celebrity chef. The likable southerner’s untrammeled popularity make her something of a Swedish Delia Smith (without the major shareholding in a mid-sized football club), or Martha Stewart (without the spell in jail).

What’s her secret?

Like mama’s lasagna, it’s all in the recipe. Take a spoonful of southern charm, mixed with a dash of barely decipherable dialect. Add a sprig of humour and bring the bubbly personality to the boil. Stick the whole lot in the mixer and you’re left with a quite delectable dish.

Sounds tasty alright.

It’s a quite exquisite concoction, which has ensured that the woman they call Food-Tina has topped the ratings any time she’s been bothered to put her hand near a pot.

And what about family? Has she ever had a bun in the oven?

Hilarious gag. She’s only heard it more times than she’s had hot dinners. But yes, she and her boyfriend Martin have a little one-year-old called Albin.

Good for them. Is she in the news for anything at the moment?

Yes, she has just joined the board of The Empire, a company that sells SodaStream makers of all things. The company is run by Ian Wachtmeister, if you know who he is?

Yes. Isn’t he the bloke who made it into parliament with that strange New Democracy party in the early nineties? I thought he had gone had gone the way of the SodaStream but it seems both of them have been with us all along. Any other news?

Let’s see. There’s the whole masturbation thing of course.

What? Do fill me in.

One of the songs vying to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest was performed by a group called After Dark. This trusty old drag act composed a ditty layered with more double entendres than you could shake a stick at.

Fnarr fnarr.

Oh, very mature. The song – the title of which translates as ‘(Oh) When you take things into your own hands’ – centered on the presenters of a number of Swedish do-it-yourself programmes. Each of them contributed to the stage performance with a short piece of video footage. When Food-Tina’s moment arrived, she could be seen happily sucking her finger as After Dark sang: “Tina knows how to get some foodie lovin’. She just fiddles with the knob on her hot air oven. Forget whisks and ladles, there’s enough dip to lick. Just use your finger, that’ll do the trick.”

Ooh er, missus! That was a bit saucy. So is she still keeping the juices flowing on Swedish television?

No. Food-Tina has recently been treating American audiences to her culinary delights on a show called New Scandinavian Cooking. Not surprisingly, she has proved a hit with US viewers despite being unable to use her trademark phrase: ‘jättegott’.

What does that mean?

It means eminently palatable.

Right. And is she beloved by all?

Not quite. Sweden’s former Prime Minister Göran Persson doesn’t have much time for the 34-year-old cookery ace. Taking time off from his top-level political duties, the portly premier once expressed a preference for Tone Bekkestad, the sprightly Norwegian weatherwoman.

And people wonder why he lost the election!