Chef Alexander Sundqvist
We had the opportunity to interview the amazing Alexander, a Swedish chef with a great eye for details. He's been working as a professional chef since 2010 and lives in Umeå, a city in the north of Sweden. Check out his website www.innovativegastronomy.se for great recipes, ideas, tips and pictures (use the translate tool as the website is currently in Swedish), and follow him on Instagram @innovativegastronomy for his daily updates with great images!
How did you learn how to cook and what are you working on at the moment?
Well, it all started out in my mother’s kitchen. My family has always been interested in food and eating well. My mother always let me be a part of the cooking whenever I wanted to. She also gave me free access to the kitchen if I wanted to make something alone. I think that gave me a curiosity for food and the creative process of making it. When I got older, I decided that my passion for food was bigger then I could express in our home kitchen. So after I finished high school I applied to a cookery school and was accepted to a 1-year education. The moment I arrived to the cooking school, I felt that “this is it, this is what I want to do in my life”. So, I did my year in the cookery school and worked simultaneously as an apprentice in an ambitious restaurant located in the same city as my school. After I finished school, I was hired by the same restaurant. The restaurant gave me a solid base and opened many doors for my career and me. I got the opportunity to visit and work a shorter period at both a two star Michelin restaurant In Helsinki called Chez Dominique and a one starred Michelin restaurant in Stockholm Sweden called Gastrologik. 2013 I worked as a chef de partie at a Swedish restaurant on Gotland called Krakas krog that was ranked top 20 amongst Swedish restaurants. At the moment I am taking a class at the university about wine and food in combination. I am also working on some food related projects on the side.
What is typical Nordic food to you?
Typical Nordic food for me is using all the fresh and local ingredients we have all around us. Nordic food has been put on the map during the past years and the whole concept has been reinterpreted. We don’t have the same kind of food history like Italy for example, our cuisine hasn’t been recognised in the same kind of way. But what we do, basically, is that we use all the different techniques that has been used for thousands of years in the north. For example, we salt and smoke food, we pickle vegetables, herbs and fruit. We make jams and marmalade, apple juice, cured fish and meat. All these techniques were used to preserve the food during the winter. The cuisine is also based on a lot of root vegetables, because the winter is really hard here. We have some really unique ingredients here for example, artic char (a fish living in the lakes up in the mountains), cloudberries, artic raspberries and of course reindeer.
What is your top tip to cook healthy?
I try to have a balanced life and a balanced diet, I don’t believe in making things, or especially food, forbidden. If you start to make things forbidden, your diet wont be able to last very long. I like to look for healthy food ideas from countries where the people have a long life span, for example Italy or Japan. In general I think that when people try to be healthy they think about sallads or flavourless food. I always try to work with more spices and flavours when I cook healthy.
Do you have any recommendation on a great Swedish restaurant?
This is a hard one... During the last years, we have had an incredible wave of good restaurants popping up in and around Sweden. One of my favourite restaurants that give a good display of Swedish and Nordic ingredients is “Matbaren” owned by Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm.
What is your best dish?
I am really into Spanish cuisine and I love seafood paella, both to eat and to make! Its such a festive meal, I often make it together with a Spanish friend of mine. We always cook a big paella with beautiful fresh seafood and invite a couple of friends over for drinks and food.
What's for dessert?
I, like many others, have a soft spot for anything that includes chocolate, often something easy like a chocolate fondant straight from the oven. I also love high quality ice-cream.
For all recipes please visit the website