Published on 27 March 2013
Magnus Nilsson of Langham Melbourne MasterClass 2013 discusses what he thinks is most important in cooking:
I think that the most important thing a chef can do today regardless of where he runs his or her restaurant and under which circumstances is to make the most out of whatever situation that restaurant is run in, at that moment.
I’d like to think that that’s what we do at Fäviken by using all the good things in our area every time we get the chance to. At the same time as we try to turn the difficulties we meet in our everyday life into something that brings us good instead of looking at them as problems. Nature doesn’t let me grow lemons at Fäviken and that has been one of the truly defining things in shaping the way I cook today. Instead of seeing the lack of my preferred citrus fruit as a problem and maybe settling for a less good, anonymous product imported from somewhere I have never been, I simply decided on not using them.
By making that decision, I also forced myself into thinking anew, if you won’t let yourself use lemons you will have to find something else that gives that bite and zest to your food. In a world where everything really is available anytime as long as you have the means to buy it, what we have is only what lets us create what we do but what we don’t have is what defines our creation. The way I see it, this way of looking at food and cooking can be applied anywhere in the world to anyone’s situation.
If I ran a restaurant in Melbourne it would not be something resembling Fäviken much because the possibilities in an Australian city would be completely different and the challenges too for that matter. I don’t think it is a question of better or worse but rather of two situations being different. I don’t try to give people an experience of Fäviken anywhere else than at Fäviken, partly because food technically doesn’t travel well but mainly because it wouldn’t make sense.
An experience of the kind we try to give our customers, taken out of place is not worth much in my book. I love travelling and what I do when I travel is to discover and try to understand, about history, culture and everyday life. Sometimes I run into amazing products and practices and then I cook new dishes, dishes that celebrate the situation they were created in and that made the most of the possibilities and difficulties present right there and then.
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