Björn Frantzén is a former football player and chef who runs Frantzén, a three-star Michelin restaurant.
Bjorn Frantzen, born in 1977, says that he will always remember the perfect steak with French fries and bearnaise he was served aged 12 and how this inspired him to always aim to find the essence of ingredients. Frantzen’s first professional culinary step after a time spent cheffing in the Swedish army was with Chef Christer Lingström at Edsbacka Krog. Determined to build an international CV and develop his skills, Frantzen trained with Raymond Blanc and Alain Passard, experiences that have clearly inspired his love of nature and vegetable forward cooking. He has spent considerable time in Japan too, particularly staying at ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) where they serve multi-course, beautifully plated, kaiseki meals. “It simply blows me away. Kaiseki is the highest form of tasting menu: it’s reverential and ultra-seasonal. It’s all about balance. What the Swedes call “lagom”.
Frantzen leapt onto the international culinary map with his first restaurant Frantzen-Lindeberg which he co-owned with the pastry chef David Lindeberg i n the medieval Old Town of Stockholm, which he co-owned with / Despite its modest size, it won a devoted following and two stars.
Restaurant Frantzen is the apogee of his vision. “My dream was to open a restaurant that felt like being invited to my own apartment. Most of all, I want the dining experience to be entertaining and playful.” Despite the new Frantzen being five times the size and over three floors, the covers remain the same as in his original restaurant. It is a more relaxed interpretation of luxury with more emphasis on diners being “fully engaged, immersed on a deeper level, even transformed by their experience.” He dispenses with the formality of a menu which is only presented to diners after the meal.
Bjorn describes his recipes as Nordic informed by Japanese kaiseki sensibilities with a spritz of French technique. Restaurant Frantzen is the first Swedish restaurant ever to be awarded three Michelin stars and has a long waiting list. Wild deer is one of the products Bjorn most likes to work with, treated in truly original style mixing up Nordic elements, traditional fermenting techniques of fermenting, Japanese ingredients and French savoir-faire. Diners keen to get an insight into Frantzen’s food, albeit considerably more informal, can visit his Flying Elk “gastropub, Gaston, his wine bar or Counter Talk, offering highly original handmade cocktails. Chef Frantzen also oversees a lunch/takeout service restaurant based at department store NK where offerings include unusual greens and salads and home-style favourites from around the world.
Hong Kong now has its own taste of Bjorn Frantzen with Frantzen’s Kitchen serving up a more informal take on Nordic recipes with a Japanese inflex. This spring, 2019 Chef Frantzen has opened Restaurant Zen in the former premises of Restaurant Andre in Singapore.
- Crudo of scallop with salted Tokyo turnip, myoga and fermented scallop vinaigrette arranged like a rose looks as exquisite as it tastes. Diners are instructed to lift the scallop rose and place it on the cream of scallop roe and use salt, lime and horseradish to adjust the flavour balance.
- King crab grilled over birch embers with “hot sauce”
- Spice roasted fallow deer, blood orange, foie gras butter and jus roti with two kinds of pepper followed by a deeply intense tea of grilled fallow deer bones and fermented mushrooms with red seaweed with silken tofu.