Q1: How did you end up in NYC?
It was inevitable for me. My sister and I were never allowed junk food, but the only time we were allowed candy was when my mom would watch an Elvis Presley movie on TV. I think I started equating American culture with sweets and freedom, that it was always a burning desire to end up in New York. More than 20 years later and I don't think I'll ever live anywhere else.
Q2: What´s the best thing with being a chef and running restaurants?
The experiences it has provided for me. I have been able to travel the world and be connected to people from such different fields and walks of life--all of that because of what I create in the kitchen. When you can say you've met Michelle Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, Maya Angelou, and Oscar de la Renta, I have to look back at my life and be grateful for the opportunities I've been given. Eating well doesn't hurt either.
Q3: Craziest food memory?
That's a hard one. My life is made up of crazy food memories. I would have to say it was blowing a whole year's savings on eating deadly fugu in Japan, or the time I rode up the Spanish coast with Albert Adria to eat with Ferran at el Bullií. But it's also those special moments like the first time I found the best fish burger at Cuz's Fish Shack in Barbados or preparing a feast for my wife's whole village when we got married in Ethiopia.
Q4: What do you love the most about NYC?
The diversity, the people, the energy. It never gets old and it never stops inspiring me. When you can breathe in deep on a sweltering summer day in Chinatown and feel like you're home, you know this is the place you're meant to be.
Q5: What do you miss from Sweden?
My ma...and maybe salty licorice. I'm fortunate that I travel back and forth a lot for work so I'm able to satisfy all my cravings and see my loved ones often.
Q6: Best of Stockholm? Give us some tips.
Restaurant “Rolfs Kök”. It's a great mix between rustic food, chefs and media.
Q7: What´s your favorite food on the Midsummer table?
I love the meatballs because it reminds me of my grandmother Helga. We will always have Helga's Meatballs on the menu at Red Rooster and I never get sick of it. I don't normally eat that many sweets, but ask any Swede if they can resist a piece of Princess Cake.
Q8: What´s your favorite piece from the SS14 collection?
This linen madras shirt. Since I live out of a suitcase for half of the year, this shirt looks great fresh from the dry cleaners or after many days flung over a hotel chair. It's usually the latter.