Master of MasterChefs: Massimo Bottura

MasterC Oz contestants MC7_Ep_04_1444

Today Australians who watched Channel Ten were able to witness a Master of Masterchefs set the first team challenge for the new intake of contestants. If you’re in Oz you can watch it here.

Hot news for Italians from MasterChef Australia host Matt Preston – the show will be broadcast in Italy – date TBC.


Massimo Bottura is the chef-patron of the Best Restaurant in Italy Osteria Francescana in Modena – 3 Michelin stars and number 3 ranking on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants listing.

For more about Massimo Bottura, the man and his projects, click here.

This Master of Masterchefs is on screen again via NETFLIX where their first doc-series – Chef’s Table – is now available

MasterChef Oz massimo-last-quote2

Enjoy your viewing, your eating and your mistakes!


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Leila Lindholm opens fifth retail store ……

On 6 May 2015 Leila Lindholm will open her fifth physical Leila’s General Store. This fun and quirky store will see its doors open in Täby Centrum, approximately 15 km north of Stockholm. If you can’t drop everything and fly to Sweden take a look at the original online store here.


Leila Lindholm - 1 ©Wolfgang Kleinschmidth copy

Scandinavian lifestyle icon Leila Lindholm has had an impressive, all-encompassing career. After starting out in restaurant kitchens, she has since written and published multiple books on the subjects of interior design and cookery, and has 8 TV shows to her name. She has also found the time to start her own retail brand and along the way became a mother of two.

For as long as she can remember, Leila has had a love of good food. Her happiest childhood memories involve food; helping her grandfather empty the crayfish cages early on an August morning or having family barbeques on the picturesque Stockholm archipelago, where she grew up. Part of a food-loving family who relished cooking and eating out, she began experimenting with recipes at a young age. By 7 years old, she was baking and sharing recipes with her grandmother and neighbour, ‘Aunt’ Elsa.

As she got older, it became clear that a career in food was what she desired and so she began a three year course at St Görans Restaurant School in Stockholm. Work in Stockholm’s kitchens followed, before at 21, her ambition and sense of adventure got the better of her and she left the Swedish capital for New York, where she worked in the kitchen at Aquavit for two years. On her return, her state side experience led her to positions in Stockholm industry institutions Operakällaren, Fredsgatan 12 and Restaurangen. In 1999, The LRF (Federation of Swedish Farmers) proclaimed her Female Chef of the Year.

A continued interest in both food and interiors saw Leila set up her own styling business, working on magazine articles and commercials. Her energy and enthusiasm mounted and media interest in Leila followed. It was not long before she made her first TV appearance in 2004 on TV4’s morning news show, Nyhetsmorgon.

She was an instant hit, winning TV4’s 2004 TV Chef of the Year award, voted for by viewers, fending off competition from more established chefs with much high profiles. Her first TV series “Leila’s Food’ aired in 2005, with a follow up series in 2006. Since then 7 further programmes have been made, several with more than one series. These are: Leila’s Baking Show, Leila’s Food, Leila’s Christmas, Leila in the Country, Leila’s Home Delivery, Leila’s Holidays, Leila bakes in France and Leila’s Sweet Christmas. As well as broadcasts from her native Sweden, Leila’s TV work has appeared on channels in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Belgium.

Her shows combined with the release of several books have made Leila a household name. To date, she has published six cookery titles and one interior title: Leila’s middagstips, Leila’s guldkant på vardagen, A Piece of Cake, One More Slice, Hello Cupcake and Welcome Home. Her titles have been published in the UK, in numerous European countries, in the US and in Australasia. Her fourth book, One More Slice was published by Walter and Books, the company she founded with her life partner. The demand for her words has also sparked a bilingual Swedish English blog, which has a loyal following. In 2009, her work was also recognised by the Swedish Gastronomic Academy. Leila was awarded with a silver medal for her extraordinary efforts in the field of gastronomic culture in Sweden. This medal was presented to her by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

A powerhouse work ethic meant she didn’t stop there. In 2012, Leila launched a business idea that she had been working on for much of the past decade, an online shop and lifestyle brand, selling goods for the home, Leila’s General Store. It was not a modest launch, the cyber store opened with 500 lines, some of which were designed by Leila herself. Its instant popularity crashed the site in its first day of trading, happily quickly rectified. In April 2014, the shop graduated to a retail space in the high-end shopping centre, MOOD in Stockholm’s main retail district. By the end of the year, Leila’s General Store opened two more premises in Sweden, one in Leila’s hometown of Mariefred and another in the town of Strängnäs, west of Stockholm. In 2015 she has barely stopped for breath. She opened store number 4 in Gothenburg and has now added a 5th in the beautiful Täby Centrum mall, the 2015 NCSC awarded “Best Nordic Shopping Centre”.

When Leila became a mother and as her children developed, her new role lead her to think much more carefully about what she was eating and how she was feeding her these precious two people, particularly as both Olivia and Walter suffer from food allergies. It was a challenge which this inventive for chef relished and one of the results was Leila’s newest cookbook which she completed with esteemed British photographer David Loftus. FRESH FOODIE was released in Sweden in April 2015. It focuses on “clean eating” and is utterly beautiful. We dearly hope it will be published in English soon. Watch this space for news.

Leila lives in Mariefred, a small town 45 minutes drive south-west of Stockholm. Her keen eye for design can be seen throughout her home. They spend their summers boating on the lake outside their house, picking mushrooms in the countryside and throwing dinner parties for all of their friends.

Visit Leila’s English website here

Follow Leila on her popular Instagram account: @leilalindholm

Like Leila on Facebook (frequently in English as well as Swedish):

Follow Leila on Twitter(predominately Swedish language): @leilalindholm

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Master Chefs ….. Niklas Ekstedt and Massimo Bottura

Niklas Ekstedt © Simon Bajada

Last night Niklas Ekstedt, owner & chef of Stockholm’s Restaurant Ekstedt, welcomed the finalists of the UK’s massively popular Masterchef into his Michelin star fire fuelled restaurant. The contestants and viewers saw how using the most primitive of cooking techniques incredibly refined dishes can be produced. If you missed it the show is currently available (in the UK) via iPlayer.

For more about Ekstedt, the man and the restaurant, click here.

For Ekstedt’s own website and menus, click here

There are two great opportunities to catch Niklas Ekstedt in the UK this year. The first Scandinavian Midsummer Feast will take place over 20 – 21 June and Niklas will also be appearing live at the Wilderness festival in August.
Massimo Bottura © Paolo Terzi


The other Master chef on MASTERCHEF is going to be Massimo Bottura the chef-patron of the Best Restaurant in Italy Osteria Francescana in Modena – 3 Michelin stars and number 3 ranking on The World’s Best Restaurant listing.

For more about Massimo Bottura, the man and his projects, click here.

This Master of Masterchefs will be in the UK in June but on screen again via NETFLIX where the first doc-series – Chef’s Table – will be available from 26 April.

Enjoy your viewing and your eating.





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My version of Leila Lindholm’s Meatless Meatballs

The cricket world cup final is on and I’m cooking snacks for fans in the house. It’s the last day of Meat Free Week so it made sense to turn to their collection and to Leila Lindholm in particular……Bingo! Meatless Meatballs should do the trick. Ok so it’s raining, I didn’t have chickpeas but butter beans would do and the beetroot I had in the house wasn’t the traditional deep red which she used either……..but would it work?

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Sarah Meatless Meatballs-finished

Thanks Leila …… they’re pale but smell delicious …… it’s time to serve up…………..

Here’s the recipe should you wish to make Leila’s proper version c/o Meat Free Week.

These maybe Swedish but the maker is a closet Aussie and the home team should win by a mile.


MFW - LeilaLindholm1

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Niklas Ekstedt to light up Britain’s Wilderness Festival

Niklas Ekstedt is coming back again to the UK in early August 2015. The first international chef to have been brought into the Wilderness fold, he will brightly burn the carefully prepared wood and not the beautiful trees that surround him. Contemporary Michelin star awarded food will astound all that feast at Ekstedt in Wilderness.

For more about Ekstedt, the man and the restaurant, click here.

For Ekstedt’s own website and menus, click here.


The official announcement from Taste PR:



From Michelin-starred chefs and top restaurants to exciting street food and a cookery school in the fields

Wilderness August 6th – 9th 2015

Wilderness has been leading the pack since 2011 when it comes to food at festivals. The 2015 line-up boasts its best ever, with a thoughtfully curated selection of exceptional chefs and dining events; an essential event for any food lover to experience. With Bjork headlining in the musical arena, an abundance of Michelin-starred chefs top the bill around the festival – from Long Table Banquets under the stars, the intimate Chef’s Table, feasts or innovative street food, there is something for everybody to enjoy.

The Chef’s Table: This intimate and most talked about festival food experience returns, bringing with it a different celebrated chef each day to serve their own tasting menu of six dishes or more. New for 2015, Nuno Mendes will be offering the finest in field dining with a Portuguese menu and Neil Borthwick of Merchants Tavern brings a menu of seasonal British charm to the magical canopied restaurant in a field. Scott Hallwsorth of Kurobuta returns to showcase a contemporary Japanese menu as well as James Knappett of Kitchen Table fame.

“Being able to cook so close to nature at Wilderness 2014 was absolutely inspiring. We are really looking forward to coming back again this year and reconnecting with the surroundings with a whole new menu.” – James Knappett, Kitchen Table

Wilderness Long Table Banquets: These splendid banquets have proven to be one of the most popular attractions on the Wilderness line-up. Feasting with friends and rubbing shoulders with strangers in the beautifully decorated banqueting tent is an unforgettable experience. Angela Hartnett, Chef Patron of Murano, is one of the big-name chefs welcomed back to the Wilderness kitchen to host one of the three days of delicious banquets. Wilderness has also invited Niklas Ekstedt an internationally renowned chef with a CV that includes The Fat Duck, El Bulli and now his Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt. In keeping with his restaurant concept and the Wilderness spirit, he will only be cooking over an open fire. Niklas is the first overseas chef to join the festival, and reflects the top quality, international approach of the programme curation.

“I cannot wait to see what this adventure will deliver. You can find me climbing through the English countryside and peering through the trees at the wonders that unfold. It will be a world away from my fire-enraptured Stockholm restaurant but close to my roots, embracing my love of the outdoors. I’m told that I will be the first chef from outside the UK to ever have been invited to Wilderness, how radical is that!”

  • Niklas Ekstedt, Chef and Owner at Ekstedt

“The Banquets at Wilderness are a real highlight of my summer. I will be cooking a rustic Italian feast served on big platters for everyone to share. The atmosphere is really special .. friends and strangers and raucous delicious fun.”

Angela Hartnett, Chef Patron at Murano

Feast in field restaurants: Revellers can feast with top restaurant chefs in one of the field restaurants on offer.

  • Away from the hubbub of Exmouth Street Market, Sam and Sam Clark will be bringing some Moro magic in the form of a stunning Bedouin souk tent – dishing out a fusion of African, Spanish and Middle Eastern Cuisine alongside a delicious sherry pairing menu.
  • The internationally prized garden and critically acclaimed restaurant, Petersham Nurseries will slip into the green countryside setting comfortably, serving up stunning seasonal dishes with edible flower flourishes.
  • Finally, celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer, Mark Hix returns to Wilderness to serve up British fayre alongside his infamous cocktails.

The Wilderness Cookery School with Daylesford: Nourish your soul with cookery classes and food to make you happy at The Wilderness Cookery School in collaboration with Daylesford. The team will be on hand to showcase recipes in the cookery sessions and entertain with talks and masterclasses: everything from artisan bread making, cooking the perfect steak, a contemporary Japanese masterclass, foraging tours, a mindful eating workshop and curing techniques.

The Dining Room: New for 2015, The Dining Room will bring together yet more exciting restaurants for festivalgoers to feast from. The full Dining Room line-up will be announced later in April.


Notes to Editors

For more information on the food line up at Wilderness Festival 2015 and high res images please contact TEAM TASTE on 0207 242 2844 or or


If you can’t make it to Wilderness there are other opportunities to catch Niklas Ekstedt in the UK this year. The Scandinavian Midsummer Feast will take place over 20 – 21 June.

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Imagining dinner on top of the world…..

Sunday night in London, we were seated expectantly in Claude Bosi’s Mayfair establishment Hibiscus. 6 chefs had gathered earlier that day to cook a magnificent dinner for the assembled guests. I was fortunate enough to be one.

Having boasted about the 10 Michelin stars that adorned the restaurants of the generous head chef crew, it was the one with no stars at all who took my breathe away. Ex-pat Paul Cunningham please take a bow.Can you see the plate below with both before and after shots? Your dish of turbot with bone marrow and caviar still makes my mouth water.  Not a single bead of caviar remained after I had mopped up the sauce.

Everyone else produced beautiful dishes and Mikael Jonsson of Hedone who had risen early to bake bread for the event and who didn’t even show his face, also deserves a round of applause. It was a breath of fresh sourdough which seasoned the air.

To know more about the why on earth? Or rather why we were positioned so comfortably whilst pondering dinner on top of Mount Everest, see co-diner Amanda Afiya’s report for Caterer and Hotelkeeper here. Then come back to see Sat Bains quest to cook on top of the world here. May strength multiple times more than mine accompany you Sat Bains up the hill.

Hospitality Action black frame 1 Hospitality Action black frame 2

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Make scrumptious Swedish waffles with Leila Lindholm

On March 25 every year, Swedes open up their waffle irons so they can indulge in freshly baked waffles with jam and whipped cream. This delicious tradition actually originates from a misunderstanding. The original Christian celebration on that day, Annunciation Day, in Swedish is called Vårfrudagen, which sounded very much like the word Våffeldagen, meaning Waffle Day.

Waffle Day- Leila Lindholm

Home-cooked Swedish Waffles

Use this day as a great excuse to explore the variety of waffles that Swedish Lifestyle icon Leila Lindholm has to offer you: tuck into classic Swedish saffron or cardamom waffles for breakfast; enjoy a Belgian waffle dusted with confectioner’s sugar or coated in chocolate and served with slightly whipped cream for tea. See recipes here.

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Michelin starred Sourdough Waffles 

At his Michelin starred Stockholm restaurant EKSTEDT, Niklas Ekstedt cooks sourdough waffles over an open fire in a cast-iron waffle grill and serves with cloudberries and pastry cream with orange and juniper.

Where to try Swedish Waffles in the UK

* SVEA in Cheltenham offers Våfflor – freshly made waffle served with jam and whisked cream

* Scoop and Crumb in Brighton offers Swedish waffles with a variety of toppings

Kula cafe in London has a dedicated Swedish waffle menu

How to make Swedish Waffles at home

Clas Ohlsson (nationwide) sells Coline Waffle Makers for £14.99

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EKSTEDT- the Michelin Starred Fire Pit


Today, Thursday 26 February, Michelin revealed its first dedicated Scandinavian restaurant guide. They awarded EKSTEDT restaurant in Stockholm * stars, a confirmation of the award given in their 2013 European city guide.

Swedish chef Niklas Ekstedt shows astonishing creativity, producing elegant food using long-lost cooking techniques and burning wood as his only source of heat. Precisely the opposite of molecular, modernist or futuristic gastronomy, the extraordinary restaurant experience delivered by his team, was rewarded in April 2013 when EKSTEDT was given its first Michelin star.

Since opening in November 2011, Restaurant EKSTEDT has received numerous awards for its way of presenting and preparing food. But it’s not an easy task managing the right amount of wood to maintain the perfect heat for each exquisite ingredients. Everything on the menu, from an Entrecote Flambadou with oysters and fired salad and Sweetbreads with smoked whitefish roe and apple to Cloudberries served with socca, is cooked over the restaurant’s magnificent fire pit, in the wood-fired oven or on top of the wood burning stove. No electric cookers, no gas-burners. The chefs also only use Scandinavian wood in order to give the food a truly unique character – one you can’t get anywhere else in the world.

“You can create minor miracles with fire, smoke, ashes and soot.” Niklas Ekstedt

A set menu, consisting of four or seven courses, includes seasonal offerings of the region’s finest meat, seafood, fish, game and vegetables. Trademarks of the Nordic palate such as lingon berries, wild herbs, pine and wild mushrooms are transformed as ancient traditions meet modern Swedish cuisine.

The wine list is just as ambitious – unique and as natural as possible to match the natural flavours of the food.

”Cooking over flame could imply the naffness and coarseness of the burnt and sweet blokey barbeque or it could be the companionship of a camp fire, but a flame is where all kitchens start and things here are carefully and properly roasted, which gives them a piquancy that you don’t get by baking in an oven. It is both fundamental and inventive. I particularly like the char in hay with smoked butter and the chimney-smoked lobster. Kitchens that get obsessed with one thing or technique can show off their limitations rather than their possibilities, but Ekstedt has a light hand with the smoke and the flame and a clever menu!”

AA Gill, The Sunday Times. March 2013.

Situated in the heart of Stockholm, the interior is Scandinavian design at its best and takes inspiration from Niklas Ekstedt’s roots in both Jämtland in northern Sweden and Skåne in the south. In the restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere, guests can watch the chefs work by the magnificent fire pit where every order is prepared à la minute.

Dinner at EKSTEDT is more than a meal, it’s a life experience. And it’s sizzling hot.

EKSTEDT was named second in a ’Ten Hottest Restaurants in the World’ list compiled by prestigious restaurant guide Zagat.

For reservations please contact;

Restaurant EKSTEDT

Humlegårdsgatan 17

114 46 Stockholm

T +46 (0)8 611 12 10

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday from 18:00

Saturday from 16:00

EKSTEDT accepts reservations by phone Monday-Friday 8:30 to 19:00, Saturday 11:00 to 17:00


Born in 1978, Niklas was hailed a gastronomic Wunderkind when he opened his first restaurant at the age of 21. “Restaurant Niklas” in Helsingborg, a town in the south of Sweden, was an immediate success and won several awards. With characteristic energy, he celebrated his accomplishment with the opening of a summer restaurant in nearby Viken, a village by the sea; “Niklas i Viken”.

Six years later, Niklas decided it was time to move to Stockholm and opened “1900”, focusing on Swedish ingredients and local traditional cuisine with a modern twist. It has since changed both its name to “Niklas” and its direction to embrace an international outlook.

In search of further challenges, Niklas conceived the bold idea of creating a cuisine using only flames to cook with. After a number of technical issues “EKSTEDT” opened in 2011. Soon after, the restaurant was pronounced a smoking success and considered the talk of the town. It still is.

Before starting his own restaurant business, Niklas worked for a number of world-renowned chefs, including Charlie Trotter in Chicago, Alain Ducasse in Paris, Heston Blumenthal in the UK and carried out a brief internship at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli in Spain.

Niklas partly grew up in Järpen, a small village outside the famous Swedish ski resort of Åre. Following a serious back injury, he decided to forego being a professional snowboarder and chose to pursue his other passion in life- food.

Since 2003, Niklas Ekstedt has hosted a popular cooking show on national Swedish television. His latest show Niklas Mat saw him visiting some of the world’s most exciting culinary destinations, meeting with Gaston Acurio, Inaki Aizpitarte and Enrique Olvera amongst others, along the way. He has also written four cookbooks, one of them published in English; “Scandinavian Classics” (Skyhorse Publishing).

Niklas lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.


Photo Credit- PA Jorgensen

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Celebrate Pancake Day the Swedish way with Niklas Ekstedt and Leila Lindholm

We have had a few ideas involving a couple of our Swedish clients and Pancake Day which is just around the corner on Tuesday 17th February. 

 Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 16.03.30Sweden’s answer to Nigella Lawson, TV star, author and retailer – Leila Lindholm has many pancake variations up her sleeve ranging from the classic Swedish pancake (served with cream and home-made jam) to ricotta pancakes, blinis and buttermilk pancake.

Leila’s Saffron Pancake recipe is the one that particularly stands out to us however. Made from rice, saffron, almond paste and flaked almonds, as well as the conventional ingredients of flour, milk and eggs, this innovative flavor and texture combination promises to be a welcome addition to Pancake Day this year.

Michelin starred Chef Niklas Ekstedt (who is going to be on Saturday Kitchen on the 27th Feb) has also been known to serve a lightly caramelised Socca (chickpea pancake), topped with rum-soaked raisins, nougat crumbs, chopped hazelnuts and orange curd and a thick Sourdough pancake, served with calvados-flambéed apple, salted caramel ice cream and toasted hazelnuts on his Tasting Menu at his Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt

At home, Niklas and his family prepare Kolbulle – a salty, oily, bacon pancake made over open-fire in a large cast-iron pan, that Swedes have eaten through the ages. Like so many Swedish dishes, the dish is served with lingon berries and a hot cup of coffee. 

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Leila’s Saffron Pancake

Makes 1 dish/8 servings 


. 125g (4 ½ oz) short-grain rice

. 150ml (5fl oz) water

. 500ml (18 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk

. ½ tsp salt

. 2 sachets (1g) saffron strands

. 6 free-range eggs

. 2 tbsp plain flour

. 200g (7 oz) almond paste, grated

. 25g (1 oz) flaked almonds

. Butter for the dish

. Jam and slightly whipped cream, to serve 


1. Boil the rice and water in a pot with the lid on until the water has been absorbed. Add the milk and the salt. 

2. Boil the rice for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add saffron towards the end of the cooking time. Let the rice cool. 

3. Preheat the oven to 180˚ (350˚F/gas 4)

4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the flour, grated almond paste and the saffron infused rice mixture.

5. Pour the batter into a buttered, oven-safe dish and sprinkle with flaked almonds. 

6. Bake the pancake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and the batter is completely firm.

7. Serve the pancake with lightly whipped cream and jam. 

© Leila Lindholm,  “One More Slice”, 2010 

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The Modernist Cuisine App is the world’s ‘Best Digital App’

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Modernist Cuisine at Home on Devices

A huge congratulations to The Cooking Lab team and their partners at Inkling for winning the Gourmand (World Cook Book Awards)  Best Digital app for their Modernist Cuisine at Home App. The award will be officially presented at The Best in the World  Awards which will be taking place in Yantai, China,  June 8-11, 2015.

The Modernist Cuisine at Home App (£59.99) which launched last year, contains 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos.

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the App is a completely immersive experience. The seamless navigation throughout make it intuitive and exceptionally user friendly. Noteworthy functions include a Yield Converter, which can adapt recipes to how many people you’re feeding, a Shopping List function which adds all ingredients from your chosen recipe to a list with the tap of a button and a Recipe Finder which enables you to find recipes by ingredient and difficultly level.

More information on the App, the Modernist Cuisine trilogy and on Nathan Myhrvold can be seen at

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