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, ‘Leila’s General Store’ and along the way, has become 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 five 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 will open two more premises in Sweden, one in Leila’s hometown of Mariefred and another in the town of Strängnäs, west of Stockholm.
Leila new role as a mother lead her to think much more carefully about what she was eating and how she was feeding her two young children, particularly as both suffer from food allergies. Her next cookbook, which she is working on with esteemed British photographer David Loftus is due for release in Sweden in 2015. It focuses on “clean eating”.
Leila lives in Mariefred, a small town 45 minutes drive south-west of Stockholm with her partner and two children, Walter and Olivia. 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 (predominately Swedish language): https://sv-se.facebook.com/leilalindholm
Follow Leila on Twitter(predominately Swedish language): @leilalindholm