Magnus Nilsson

Magnus Nilsson
Magnus Nilsson

Magnus Nilsson

Magnus Nilsson might be the head chef at one of the world’s most remote restaurants, but his influence has spread across the world. Fäviken has become famous for its daring celebration of the Swedish natural larder, and Nilsson has become a kind of rugged icon of Nordic cooking. He is one of the most notable proponents of sustenance cuisine - foraging, hunting, curing, and pickling whatever ingredients can be found in the harshest of harsh environments. But the menu at Fäviken is elevated to a level beyond mere sustenance. Nilsson’s food is all about taking on the wilderness and winning.

Perhaps the joie de vivre experienced while dining at Fäviken has its roots in Nilsson’s time as a young chef in Paris. He moved there after attending cooking school in Åre in Sweden, but struggled to find suitable work at first. Settling into a role at L’Astrance with Pascal Barbot at the age of 19, he remained in France for three years before returning home to Sweden.

Uninspired by the lack of quality ingredients in his homeland, he began to lose his passion for cooking, and he decided to become a wine writer. After attending oenology classes, he was offered a short contract as a sommelier at an unassuming little rustic restaurant restaurant on a remote hunting estate among the forests of Jämtland, hundreds of miles north of Stockholm in north-western Sweden. That restaurant was Fäviken.

As Nilsson describes it, it was the kind of place that served moose fondue to middle managers of an insurance company. But soon he found himself working there as a chef, and everything changed. They stopped ordering produce from around the world and focused instead on local ingredients. The limitations of the environment (nothing grows between October and April) forced them into investigating ways of preserving food. Drawing on the natural lichens, berries, fish and game of the area, and Nilsson’s natural inclination to create, Fäviken won two Michelin stars, and became a beacon for high-end Nordic cuisine that continues to burn brightly.

Signature dishes such as scallops cooked in the shell over birch coals and juniper branches allow the ingredients to speak for themselves. No salt, pepper or butter is added, but the shellfish are served on a bed of moss and lichen beside a smouldering chunk of charcoal. Another dish called ‘broth of lamb filtered through the forest floor’ magnifies the close relationship between Fäviken and its immediate environment. Meanwhile, Nilsson’s wild trout roe in a warm crust of pig’s blood might resemble something from a high-end Japanese sushi restaurant, but it speaks of the resourcefulness of the people that have lived in this unforgiving environment for centuries.

Fäviken is also committed to sustainability. Through recycling and composting, it has managed to reduce its waste to virtually nothing. It’s all part of Nilsson’s belief that a restaurant and its food should reflect the values and culture of a people. His book, The Nordic Cookbook, aims to document this relationship between the people and the landscape, and examine how and why they came to make the food they eat. The book contains over 700 recipes from across the region, including Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. But people travel from much further afield for the Fäviken experience, and that’s partly down to the Netflix-factor.

Nilsson starred in an episode of the first series of Chef’s Table, and it opened up his restaurant to a whole new audience. Despite the remote location of Fäviken and the challenges involved in reaching it (especially in winter), people from all walks of life save up to travel here in their droves. They come for a middle-of-nowhere adventure, to see the ancient fur hunter’s coat hung on the wall of the rustic wooden cabin in the wilderness, to be served by the Viking chef that refuses to compromise. But most of all, they come for Magnus Nilsson’s food, in all its natural, seasonal and creative splendour.

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Magnus Nilsson Will Close Fäviken for Good
Article
Magnus Nilsson Will Close Fäviken for Good
Magnus Nilsson has decided to close his two Michelin star restaurant Fäviken in Jämtland, in central Sweden, so the chef can concentrate on becoming a gardener.
Creating Food Magic in Remote Places
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Creating Food Magic in Remote Places
Many top chefs decide to open their restaurants in outstanding but remote places: discover why they made this choice.
Want to eat at Magnus Nilsson’s Pop-up Restaurant Kabin 1274? Here’s how
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Want to eat at Magnus Nilsson’s Pop-up Restaurant Kabin 1274? Here’s how
Chef Magnus Nilsson of two Michelin star restaurant Fäviken Magasinet is to open a pop-up restaurant in a cable car suspended at 1274m in Åre, Sweden.
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Magnus Nilsson Bakes the Nordics
A look inside the intrepid Swedish chef's new book exploring the rich history and variety of baking across the Nordics in over 400 accessible recipes.
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Chef Sustainability is Changing Kitchens
New models, partnerships, no tipping, three day consecutive holidays, benefits and better work hours: the kitchen is changing and to make chefs sustainable
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Magnus Nilsson: ‘Why I Almost Closed Fäviken’
The chef behind one of the world’s best restaurants explains why he came close to closing it for good.
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Chef Working Conditions Are Changing Quickly
The sustainability of the chef is being questioned once again after a new survey points towards large scale problems linked to working in the kitchen.
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Chefs at One of the World’s Best Restaurants Work 8 Hours a Day
Chefs at one of the world's best restaurant's now work eight hours a day across a 40 to 45 hour week, and it's saved the business, says the chef.
7 Michelin Chefs Cook Offal
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7 Michelin Chefs Cook Offal
Seven Michelin-starred chefs show you how to cook with offal, from liver to tongue, foie gras to a savoury custard with a twist.
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Magnus Nilsson is Opening a Chinese Pop-Up
Magnus Nilsson and his team are creating a Chinese themed pop-up, complete with crispy duck, mapo tofu and stir fry take out.
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Swedish Chef Magnus Nilsson Takes the Nordic Cook Book on Tour
Nilsson has teamed up with Dinner Lab to take The Nordic Cookbook on tour across the USA with a series of one off dinners in each of the six cities.
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Magnus Nillson Discussing Photography for His New Book
Magnus Nilsson speaks with Phaidon about taking pictures for his upcoming book, The Nordic Cookbook.
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Magnus Nilsson Cooks 5-Month Aged Ribeye
Here's another clip from The Mind of a Chef episode with Magnus Nilsson in Sweden. Nilsson cooks up aged ribeye with a tasty 'pure umami' paste.
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Article
The Mind of a Chef: Magnus Nilsson - Full Episode
The Mind of The Chef heads to Fäviken in Sweden to spend time with chef Magnus Nilsson as he cooks fresh clams and goes ice fishing.
Magnus Nilsson Wants Your Help for His New Book
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Magnus Nilsson Wants Your Help for His New Book
FDL caught up with the Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson to discuss his upcoming book, why he needs your help and his love for non food based photography.
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Where Chefs Eat App Launched
The team behind the book Where Chefs Eat have launched an app of their popular guide which includes recommendations from some of the world's best chefs.
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Magnus Nilsson's New Nordic Cookbook
The Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson has announced plans to launch his second cook book. He will create a comprehensive guide to Nordic cuisine.
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Magnus Nilsson Makes Frankenchicken
A look at a new video from Lucky Peach in which the Swedish chef, Magnus Nilsson, shows viewers how to make his Frankenchicken.
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Magnus Nilsson Combines Food and Champagne
Champagne and food combine exquisitely in this video shot in Reims France with Magnus Nilsson at Veuve Clicquot's private mansion
Back to Nature | A Day With Magnus Nilsson
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Back to Nature | A Day With Magnus Nilsson
An interview with Chef Magnus Nilsson on the grounds of his restaurant Faviken in Northern Sweden.
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Back to Nature: Magnus Nilsson's Faviken
Chef Magnus Nilsson speaks on the grounds of his restaurant, the Faviken, about his back to nature cooking techniques and menus
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Le Grand Fooding New York: A Tasty Brooklyn Celebration
Chefs from all over the world gathered in New York for the five-day events of food, from food-nostalgia to a 'campfire': FDL's report and gallery from Brooklyn
Recipe
An easy oyster recipe shared by chef Magnus Nilsson, that mixed Nordic and New Yorker flavors: grilled oysters with Ättika, the Swedish white vinegar