tisdag 20 mars 2012

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fredag 19 augusti 2011

Explorer of the world's best emerging chefs – Sébastien Coffier

"If we have a New Nordic Cuisine and an emergence of great chefs from Scandinavia, we have certainly actually a Down-Under Waves with the Australian chefs for example Ben Shewry (Attica), Martin Benn (Sepia) or Michael Meredith from New Zealand…"

This is an interview with the man who seems to know all about food and trends before everyone else: Sébastien Coffier. Two years ago, I got in contact with the food writer and "gastronaut" Sébastien through restaurant Mistral. Sebastien is a Canadian from the Quebec province who interviews the world's most interesting top chefs, and then blogs and twitter about them and their work (philosophy, food, childhood taste and cookbooks). Sébastien has been following The Nordic chefs development for a long time and on his blog, in 2010-2011 he presented "THE NORDIC WAVES - SCANDINAVIAN Chef" - interviews with eight leading chefs, mainly from Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which in recent years been associated with the new Nordic cuisine. We have countless times followed his restaurant recommendations and it is equally successful every time. On the theme of intimacy, we want to get as close to Sébastien as the chefs he interviews.

1) Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Beyond food/gastronomy and cooking questions, I have many passions (& University studies), history, economics, literature, politics, science and technology, but so many topics that can affect the world food all at different levels. This is after a stint as director of communications and buyer of the fines products for a company in the world of Épicerie Fines that I decided to dedicate myself full-time to write and communicate my passion and my research around the major ideas, chefs, creations or innovations related to the gastronomic world. I am very interested in the future of food; historically, politically and economically.

It is sometimes difficult to find the right publisher to publish some texts or reportage, I decided to create three sites/blogsdedicated to topics that interested me: emerging chefs, haute gastronomy books and all questions around the gastronomy in the world. So I can publish my own content. It is a work-in-progress that has evolved gradually over time.

2) How do you explain the philosophy behind your concepts, SCOFFIERMAGAZINE (Cahier Food & Gastronomy), Best Emerging Chefs Serie, GASTROSCENTI (Haute Gastronomy Books Project)?
As I mentioned, my blogs are a logical continuation of my previous experience and a great tool to communicate faster than traditional publishing. I consider myself primarily as a mixture of communicator, Food writer and observer of gastronomy, the emerging chefs and new ideas in the culinary world.

The first blog (Scoffier) had an eclectic contents, it was more a record of my readings, observations on the culinary world and coup-de-coeur. But soon, I decided to focus on the strength of original content (interviews) and texts, so I created Scoffier magazine (Cahier-Food & Gastronomy) that will publish 2-3 cahiers per year with a specific theme, much like the Cahiers du cinema (France). I speak only of ‘’what I like’’, there is enough criticism and I consider not to talk about is a form of position. I also wanted that the content that is not ephemeral, there is already enough quick information, I want it to remain relevant over time. In addition, from the beginning, I did not put pictures ‘’ordinary’’ (I'm not a photographer) as explained in Question # 10, so the photos are by professionals, There are so many excellent food photographers!

Best Emerging Chefs Serie is the first Cahier, it is a work-in-progress which initially was limited to 25 Q+A, then 35 andnow 49 or 51 (there are too many Top50!). But I will continue to add emerging chefs but at a slower pace. In addition, the content will be updated sporadically. Other Cahier(s) are being prepared with paper versions to support web versions. The paper (print) Cahier will be inspire by the web content but different. They will be designed as art books

GASTROSCENTI (Haute Gastronomy Books Project) is a blog of a passion. A blog create to talk and inform people aboutthe best gastronomy books or book of interesting (to me) chefs that are sometimes ignored or not distributed outside their country of origin. I have a particular focus for Scandinavia, Europe and Australia. This blog has give wonderful discussions and readings and it has just begun. I confess that I am like a child when I receive a book…

Blogue Scoffier: http://scoffier.wordpress.com
Best Emerging Chefs Serie: http://bestemergingchefs.wordpress.com
Gastroscenti Book Project: http://gastroscenti.wordpress.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/scoffiermag

3) Have you always been interested in food?
I would say yes and no. From a very young age, I grew up in nature with a garden but at that age (8 years old) you are not necessarily aware of your surrounding. I was also very lucky to have a mother who cooked a lot. She did not cook a complex cuisine but a simple and delicious traditional cuisine made with love. Her pies were particularly good, made with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, etc. I also remember some Christmas dinners at one of my uncle's house with typical ''French Cuisine' or Grande Cuisine (for this period)’’; champagne, scallops, beef wellington, sauces, crème anglaise, poached pear, home-made Plum-pudding flambé au cognac; but I have to say that it is toward the end of my teenage years that I develop an awareness and interest for the Art of cooking even thought I was not thinking about making a living in that filed.

4) When did you start calling yourself a gastronaut? What is a gastronaut?
I would not use that term to describe myself but I do like the definition and somehow it resembles me. Most of all, it is a superb description of someone who is passionate about anything relate to food or gastronomy.

It’s Davide Paolini, an Italian journalist who described it best: ‘’... To be a Gastronaut, one should possess sensibility and the attraction to flavour, the yearning that comes from being in search something and not finding it, the desire for conviviality which allows one to relate to products through the five senses by undertaking a methaphorical journey that aims to discover and to savour the route more intensely.’’

5) The theme for our FOOD PEOPLE newsletter in august is "INTIMACY". We see a trend - a movement - restaurants get more intimate with the customers in different ways for example 8-12 chairs, people invite chefs to their homes, private dinner clubs, theater-sessions performed only for you a s o. Do you see this as well? If, what is your reflection why this is happening right now?
I am not so sure about all that but for sure they are more and more small restaurants that are coming up with trendy twist like Pop-Up, private dinners and many more, often for a week, a month or a year only. I see many reasons for that; of course there is always ''the flavour of the month'' but overall there is a time phenomenon. People want to work and then do lots of activities at a rapid paste. They go for the new trends! Also, with the economy being the way it is at the moment, many are trying to reinvent the wheel, break the traditional economic model. I believe that the economic model of the restoration industry will continue to exist the way it is because in my opinion to be a restaurateur is not the same as being a Chef and even if the restaurant does not last more than a year, the chef will have the time to experiment, learn and create. Maybe a chance to be noticed!

The simple fact that those little restaurants are opening is the proof that with talent, hard work, good produces, a good location (or just location), the press and most of all a support system (friends, twitter, facebook etc.), one can succeed.

6) Could you tell a good example of trend/movement from your point of view?
I can only repeat some things already heard and others that I see:

The important place given to local products and local terroir;

The cuisine of chefs is now more personal and the road of interesting internships are often the same in the world (El Bulli, Bras, Mugaritz, French Laundry, Passard, Gagnaire, WD-50 and now Noma), I will summarize by: ‘’Learn global, Cook local’’;

The emergence of chefs in regions previously unknown to gastronomy, I will name two (2): Flanders (Desramaults, De Mangeleer, Claeys, Van Der Vieren etc.) and Estonia (Peeter Pihel/Padäste Manor);

In my opinion, now, the cuisine is the most attractive in Australia / New Zealand, after the Nordic Waves, now the Down-Under Waves (The after Wakuda; Gilmore, Shewry, Benn, Hunter, Meredith, Lim, Puskas and several young chefs).

For your information the chef Michael Meredith from Merediths restaurant won the Awards for Best Restaurant in New Zealand last week-end! and 17/8 he started a Sweden blitz at Frantzén-Lindeberg, after that he will go to Copenhagen and visit noma, Relae, Mielcke, Geranium!!! and then he will finish 20/8 eating dinner at Mistral!

Read more about Michael in The Series about creatives and original chefs:
Best Emerging Chefs and Creators/Thinkers in the Kitchen

7) You get very intimate with the chefs and creators in your interviews, we would like to get intimate with you as well, therefore, we would like to ask you some of your own questions:
– Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?
They are many but I would have to say that the ones that are still very present or that I try to recreate are associated blueberries, apples and to the extraordinary taste of carrots and cucumbers fresh from the garden of my father. And I forgot, the smell of thefreshly picked hazelnuts that I sold 1$ in the paper bags at neighbourhood.

8) Why do you ask the chefs about their childhood flavors?
Certain questions seams simples but we all know (from science) that the memory of certain taste are what is first developed at birth. When we are older, very often, we try to recreate those tastes (memories). It is always interesting to see the chefs ‘’souvenirs’’, their culinary origins. It allows us to understand their menu and their creative choices. I just read a wonderful book about the great French chef Pierre Gagnaire: ‘’Un Principe d’Émotions’’ by Catherine Flohic (Argol). We learn from that book that Gagnaire doesn’t have good (culinary) memories from his childhood, that when he first started as a chef, he did not taste his dishes; it gave him very little pleasure. It’s incredible to see how a chef can progress and change for the better!

9) How do you get in touch with the chefs and creators/thinkers (your inspiration)?
First of all, I read everything that I can put my hands on. I am very curious intellectually. I read many newspapers, magazines and books published all over the world. I have discovered many chefs this way. Through the interviews, I have developed a network of very good contacts and through those contact I had the pleasure to discover other chefs and colleagues. To complete all that, I do a lot of communication with people on Twitter. Of course when I have the chance, I travel!!!!

10) Do you visit all the restaurants you write about?
Unfortunately no, it’s impossible for me to do it at this point in my life but hopefully in the near future it will be part of my schedule. I want to visit them not so much to write about them again but mostly for the pleasure to have a good meal, a good wine and a good discussion with the chef, simply for the pleasure to cease the moment. You will never catch me take a photograph of the food. I don’t want to judge but personally I don’t do that and I don’t like it because I find that it ruins my meal and people’s meal; ninety percent (90%) of the time, the shots are very bad. I believe that a photograph should be as good as the meal in order to give justice to the chef and to the restaurant otherwise it is preferable not to have any.

11) What do you think characterizes the Nordic Cuisine? Which Nordic or/and Scandinavian chefs do you find most interesting?
A few years ago I was introduced to the Nordic Cuisine by the manifesto co-written by René Redzepi and Claus Meyer. That manifesto described very well the original idea to promote Scandinavian produces and terroir in order to define a(Scandinavian) Gastronomy; it was also financially very good for the future of the local producers. It took a lot of work to locate and identify them. With time, the idea became a wonderful inspiration for the upcoming chefs, René Redzepi became a role model for them.

As time went on, I believe that it also became a term that described the Cuisine of some Scandinavian's chefs. In the first place, the cuisine is defined by the local terroir, by the foraging, picking of herbs and small berries that can be found in the forest or the sea in Scandinavia; but it is also defined by the limits of its seasons and by its geography (the produces being often limited in the winter). It also has an aesthetic that is close to nature, where the chefs try to create images and emotions that will change the way that we taste. Stimulated by its limitations, they succeeded in re-discovering the Nordic cuisine, in multiplying its facets and in making it a great Gastronomy. That philosophy travelled and became an inspiration for several chefs and restaurants, but very few are as strict (precise) as Noma.

Scandinavia is truly exceptional when it comes to the quality and the creativity of its chefs. It is very difficult for me to choose a favourite but I do keep a close eye on the work of Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken) who walks in the footsteps of Redzepi (he has developed a unique signature). Magnus Ek because he exposed (promoted) the Swedish terroir and its creativity before everybody else. And Fredrik Andersson (Mistral), a true Nordic Chef, with another style, minimalist but with bright and colourful dishes. I am also awaiting Ola Rudin's next move (Ex-Trio). On the Danish side, aside noma, I like Jakob Mielcke a lot for its luminous creations close to nature; Christian Puglisi who creates a great cuisine, very inspired and well thought in a relaxed environment; Torsten Schmidt, wild and energetic chef connected with his land, an artist! I follow very closely Esben Holmboe Bang, the young Danish chef located in Oslo who also has a cuisine inspired by his terroir, a creative cuisine with surprising harmony, bold and new for Norway. Finally, I keep an eye on Finland and Iceland…

15-Chef Magnus Ek, Oaxen Krog (Oaxen, Sweden)
20-Chef Fredrik Andersson, Mistral (Stockholm, Sweden)
29-Chef Magnus Nilsson, Fäviken Magasinet (Fäviken, Sweden)

12) If you are allowed only to mention 3 restaurants in the world to visit, which ones would you choose?
Another trick question, after all these interviews, meetings or lectures, pick three is very difficult, each of the Best Emerging Chefs series is worth a look! But if I must choose three restaurants, they will be places already known to gourmets as:

1 Mugaritz (chef Andoni Aduriz): For his extraordinary creativity and his contribution to the cuisine of the century (www.mugaritz.com)

2 Le Bernardin (chef Eric Ripert): Best to cook fish and developing recipes around this product. And On the Line is a great book on the art of managing a restaurant (www.le-bernardin.com);

3 noma (chef René Redzepi): For making a gastronomic destination of Denmark and especially to have invented a culinary grammar from a limit (his terroir). (www.noma.dk)

13) If you had one week in Sweden, what would you do?
It’s definitively one of my projects in the near future (it’s already been re-schedule!). Of course if I only have a week or two, my trip will mostly be about gastronomy and a little bit about historical site with my contacts (you!). I don’t like to plan too much in advance, I prefer to experience the place as a local, not a tourist! Needles to say I would like to find little cafés to read and also discover some food markets. If possible, I would like to meet the local producers and share it with someone. I would plan a few dinners in Stockholm and I would spend one night in Fäviken to eat at Magnus Nilsson’s restaurant. I would also spend one night in Malmö to eat at Bastard and to meet Ola Rudin (Ex-Trio), a chef that I admire as well as the talented photographerPer-Anders Jorgensen. In Stockholm, I would like to eat at: Mistral (for Fredrik Andersson), Frantzén-Lindeberg (for Björn Frantzén), Magnus Ek (his future restaurant) and at Grand Hotel Stockholm (for Mathias Dahlgren).That’s all! I don’t know if I will have enough time but in a perfect world…

14) Do you have a mentor (chef or anybody else) that inspires you?
It’s very difficult to narrow it down to a person or two because I have found many inspirational persons. The people who inspire me are people that are innovative, creative and that challenges fixe ideas, very often they are scientific or great thinkers in different fields. The people that I interview are also an inspiration because as a rule, I like to interview people that are creative, have a strong will power, reflect on thing, basically people who are passionate.

15) I know you also like to cook. Can you give us your favorite recipe?
Again, it is difficult to choose being surrounded by the cuisine, recipes, book of chefs etc.

In general, I am spontaneous, I decided the same day and I like simple recipes that focus on the quality of a product. But if I have to give a recipe, with the arrival of autumn (and winter!!), I would say Charlevoix (or Quebec) Lamb Shoulder (6-7 hours) or Shanks slow cooking 4.5-5 hours with seasonal vegetables. It is a simple recipe. I cook the lamb wrapped in foil (à l’étouffé) with 2 garlic (en chemise), dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and onions. Before the slow cooking (250 F), I caramelized the shanks in a skillet, deglaze with white balsamic (1 tsp), ice cider (1/2 cup) and chicken broth (1 cup). Reduce by half and add on the lamb before going in the oven. After 3 hours, add small carrots, turnips, pearl onions. Serve with mashed potatoes and a small bowl of fresh red or yellow beets. And enjoy with a great red wine!

16) What is your goal (ambitions) as a Food writer? Your Next project?
I want to continue to discover, explore and communicate the creative in the cuisine via my writings and blogs exist. Also continue to increase readership of quality for my blogs.

A great ambition, become even more a reference for all matters relating to emerging chefs and the cuisine, particularly inScandinavia and Australia… And work with a foreign publisher in these countries.

There are several projects but I remain open to interesting proposals about writing, editing and all aspects of gastronomy. Also, I would like to do some consulting for restaurants and menu with people who want to create something different, of quality.

At the start of autumn, my priority is the first publication (print) of a Cahier (by Scoffier magazine) dedicated to emerging chefs and the limits as a source of creativity in the cuisine. The release is scheduled for early November. It will be one part interview, part essay, part art photos.

I invite readers to follow me because they can then pre-order the Cahier (limited edition). More details to come via email and twitter.

fredag 21 januari 2011

Trends 2011-2012

Macaron + Cupcake = Trendy Whoopie

FORMEX Trends Spring 2011
NellyRodi and Moderådet lectures about International and Nordic trends
The Formex Fair, Stockholm, Sweden 20 january 2011

"Home will be the place where you make business, cook, bake, make coffee, sell products, family values, outside = pollution, crisis".

”Trends is a subjection, in the beginning it’s just a feeling”.
Vincent Grégoire

International Trends
Lecturer: Creative Manager Vincent Grégoire NellyRodi International Trendforecasting Company

How we work:
The Creative Team is traveling around the world collecting information looking at whats new, we have diskussions with scientists, experts, philosophers. We diskuss what are you working on right now and how will you work in the future.

Calculation of all the material becomes a mix of backgroundmaterial such as:
Where is the energy - New energies (often from the outsiders)
Crazy touch
New attitudes
Consumer behaviours, What the consumers have in mind
Sociological background
The past

Energy, performance, optimism, fastfood, microwaves, colorful graphics, 30:s and 50:s influenses, a fast period.

Break of the Bubble, minimalism, Zen, Cocooning, neutral colors, green, grey, bamboo, slow period.

Started with a problem, crisis, depressed consumers, a new millenium, new decade, bling bling, show off, luxury, fast fashion, paradoxes, schitzofrenic, light, maskuline, arrogant, real TV, me myself and I.

From consumer society to consideration society, new tribes, new networks, new associations, respect, solidarity, optimism, yes we can, new values, feminism, caring, individualism but together, we have to work as a family, new teams, new ways of communicate.

Mutations, new changes, new political elections for example France, Spain, China, the consumers afraid of loosing their homes – the place of freedom, shelter, the most important thing. Home will be the place where you make business, cook, bake, make coffee, sell products, family values, outside = pollution, crisis.

Four important themes
The alternative wellness, more comfortable, coocooning effect still, smart houses, smart solutions, simplicity, comfort.

Afraid consumer, pleasurable, ethical, sustainable, Fair Trade, More sexy and glamourous, local, know how, save money, trustability.

Educational, cultural, handcrafted, mix and match, do it yourself, know how, fifferent, original, pleasant, human, touch, emotional.

More refined beauty, not about money, logos or brands, storytelling, scenography, artistic, elegant, twisted.

Nordic Trends
The Fashion Council, which this year looked at trends in the Nordic countries finds that the common design expression for the entire Nordic region is simplicity, functionality, interest in nature, the artisanal small-scale, locally produced and cultural heritage, some countries more than others.

In Sweden, there is a revival of träskor/wooden shoes, in Finland näverskor/birch bark shoes, both with a modern twist and made by modern materials. In Sweden, there is still a craze for grandma romance, crafts and old materials such as linen making a comeback. The Swedes play with their heritage while the Finns take theirs deadly serious. The Danes are focused on functionality and a new kind of humanist minimalism while Norwegian home about peasant romance, rustic materials, and lots of decorations.

söndag 12 december 2010

Scanorama - The interview - Mathias Dahlgren

See my photo and read about Swedens top-chef Mathias Dahlgren, in Scanorama (SAS flightmagazine) page 63-66.

lördag 11 december 2010

Fabulous Flavours of Sweden (FFOS) in Paris

My pictures

Maha Sargos

I had the great honor to style a wonderful food store in Paris; Terres d'apéritifs. During the Swedish week I also sold and talked about Swedish artisans and their products for incoming customers. Conveniently, a lot of snow came that pleased the owner of the store. You are able to order some of the products at Terres d'aperitifs webpage.

The assignment came from Fabulous Flavours of Sweden (FFOS).

fredag 10 december 2010

L'Assiette in Paris

The chef David Rathgeber runs restaurant L'Assiette in i an excellent way. Excellent food, excellent service and the atmosphere is just so good. The interior is relaxed, cousy and perfect. Best escargots and creme caramel ever eaten in life according to my friend Janne. I really appreciated my starter plate of delicacies and the main course the scallops. Just perfect! My friends that stayed in Paris went to the same place the day after...

Thank you Sébastien for recommending this pearl:

181 Rue du Château
75014 Paris
Tél : 01 43 22 64 86

tisdag 31 augusti 2010

The New Luxury Code™

Sustainable trends 2010
There is a new luxury movement heading towards Europe called The New Luxury Code™. It was launched last December in Shanghai, China and now 2 September 2010 in Hangzhou, West Lake State Guest House. Organizers: Hangzhou Foreign Trade Council, The Perfume Foundation and New Luxury Experts,

The message:
Luxury is changing, 

We are changing,
Follow us
And discover the New Luxury Code

The New Luxury Code™
Respect of the Planet
Respect of Air and Water
Respect of the Health
Respect of Cultural Heritage
Ethical products
Products as Piece of Art
Products Soul and History
Ethical Advertisement
Products as Consumer's Services

One of the Swedish eco producers is invited: Peter Mosten SAV™. A sparkling wine based on birch sap. The sap is harvested from birch trees growing on the mineral-rich soil of The Great Lake area in Jämtland. The healthy wine, unique in taste and character, is filled with flavours such as honey and almond.

Photos: SAV