The contrarian restaurateur
Sweden has more skilled cooks per capita than most other countries. Paul Svensson is one of them. Born in Helsingborg, he would have become a bricklayer if it had been up to his father. But Paul had other ideas in mind. He loved working with his hands and would no doubt have been a godsend to the construc-tion industry. Instead the culinary arts were blessed with a practitioner whom few can match.
His professional interest began at the age of 14 when he visited France over the summer and lived with a family that ate out five nights a week. The new flavors were an epiphany for him. Not only was good food a priority and source of pleasure for the family, but they liked to talk about it and share their experiences. Dinner was the highpoint of the day. “I remember almost every time we went to a restaurant,” Paul says.
In order to climb to the top of his pro-fession, Paul has learned from the best chefs through the years. Marco Pierre White in London, Mathias Dalgren (winner of Bocuse d`Or in 2003) and Melker Andersson’s five-star restaurant Fredsgatan 12 in Stockholm are among many establishments that have benefited from his gastronomical talents. It all started with military service. Conscripted as a seaman, he was trained as a cook aboard a ship.
ver since then, Paul has constantly explored new sides of himself and been inspired by the opportunity to experiment with differ-ent kinds of ingredients. He is always on the lookout for the perfect recipe. His preference is simple, natural fare. “What you prepare and where you do it doesn’t matter – nor does the amount of experience you have necessarily make a difference. But the ingredients are always of utmost importance. I am continu-ally on the road, collecting impulses from everything I encounter: cultures, customs, working methods, experiences, knowledge, skills, interests. One of my biggest kicks is meeting people day by day who are responsible for what we actually eat and who never lose their passion for their profession.”