While at Oaxen Krog this past August, I had the opportunity to chat after dinner with Chef Magnus Ek. Here is a bit of our conversation.
JS: How did you evolve over your 16 years at Oaxen Krog? Did you start out as a French restaurant?
ME: The kitchen has been evolving…now it is getting easier. Before it was more complicated…but in the beginning it was really simple.
JS: Easier, because it is second nature now or in terms of style or technique?
ME: Not so much the technique, which is straight forward. From day one, we tried to use as many local things as possible… For us, it is really fun to see, because when we started up using a lot of local things, people just shook their heads, but now everybody is using them.
JS: Will you be moving soon?
ME: We are going to move, but we don’t have a restaurant yet. We have one year left, but it is like a happy ending…we could go on here for five or six years more.
JS: Will you be moving to the City?
ME: Probably. Yes.
JS: How will that effect your food?
ME: It is hard to take the whole restaurant… I think it will have to change a bit…for me, I just love going out and picking herbs and finding mushrooms, but in Stockholm, (the countryside) is not so far away…if there is no traffic you can get to the forest in ten minutes, fifteen minutes from the center of Stockholm. While they don’t catch salmon everyday, they do catch (wild) salmon, large ones in central Stockholm and they go out to restaurants. You can still find things in Stockholm to use. They stock small fish in the wild. The sad thing is that 90% of the Baltic salmon is from very few fish…We had wild salmon on the menu recently, but it is like one week you get it another week you don’t get it.
JS: Is there anything on the menu right now that is like that?
ME: That you can only get occasionally? No, but Saturday a new dish is coming up with wild duck. That can also be tricky.
JS: Are there specific farms that you like to use?
ME: There is one farmer, the land they are using has been used to grow organic food for forty years. A normal farm has like 5 different things they grow? They grow about 15 or twenty different things on their farm. There aren’t too many farmers who farm in this manner. The veal brisket that you had is also from a nearby farm… they hang it for four weeks. Normally you need to cook a brisket for quite some time before it is tender, but this one is so tender.