An experience at Frantzén, by David Jesus

The purpose of this journal is to tell you a little about my experience at the Frantzén restaurant, with three Michelin stars and considered number 21 in the world by the 50th Best's Restaurants in Stockholm, Sweden.

As part of the internship and career projection plan of our work group, which already last year passed through restaurants such as Maaemo, Aponiente, Culler de Pau, Belcanto, among others; and based on personal and collective goals, I presented the proposal to go to Frantzén as an intern during the month of January.

The Frantzén, is a restaurant with a style of cuisine that fits with my style and vision. However, everything you see in books, pictures or reviews, is not enough to absorb the style in depth. You have to live it!

So, combining opportunity with interest, we made it happen.

Nothing compares to learning on the spot.

Sweden is a northern European country located in the Scandinavian peninsula. It is the third largest country in the European Union.

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and has the balance between a large European city, a metropolis, and nature. A city between the sea and the woods, made up of islands.

The architecture, innovation, social model and culture distinguish it from southern Europe.

The restaurant started in 2008 under the name Frantzén/Lindeberg in Stockholm's old city center.

It was founded by Chef Bjorn Frantzén and Pastry Chef Daniel Lindeberg, who had worked together in the first restaurant with two Michelin stars in Sweden.

In 2009 the restaurant earned its first Michelin star and the following year the second.

In 2013 Chef Daniel Lindeberg, decides to leave the restaurant and open his own pastry shop, thus renaming the restaurant just Frantzén.

In 2016 it changed location, supporting and improving its structure. Currently the restaurant has 4 floors (reception, staff area, kitchen, preparation kitchen, test kitchen, pastry shop, bakery and lounge on the top floor).

Here the projects are made by and for people.

The people who are part of the structure of the restaurant are what sets it apart.

From Chef Bjorn, to Chef Marcus, to Chef Charlie, to Chef Antti as the whole Team, they live and breathe an identity, a way of working, a style, a thought that they express through a unique experience. The unification of a vision/philosophy of cooking expressed by the Team, is what distinguishes the structure of this restaurant.

The products, are the instruments of identity expression used by those who feel them. The products present in Frantzén's menus, come from all over the world, in order to have the best product available, in function of the elaboration or final product. However, without a doubt, the nationally produced vegetables, berries and herbs, have a very strong presence in the menu dishes, whether fermented, pickled or fresh.

At Frantzén there is no territorial limitation, no product exclusivity contracts. The important thing will always be to have the best possible, in the best time and under the best conditions.

Fermented, pickles, maturations, kombuchas, infusions, brines, various types of cooking with fire, smoking were some of the techniques learned.

Some examples were the cured and smoked pork belly; the matured fish; the drinks that make up the non-alcoholic pairing, looking for notes in fruits, herbs, and vegetables that are common in wines, which are part of the alcoholic pairing available on the menu; the bread - rolled brioche, blood bread, sourdough bread with its own mix of cereals that defines authenticity; the fermentation of eggplant, which serves as the basis for a puree; the canning of vegetables and herbs, in order to have the products all year round; the herb and flower vinegars; the oils and essences, ...

In terms of tasks performed by me during this period, I went through all the restaurant's departures (production kitchen, test kitchen, bakery, pastry shop and service kitchen, where I gave services alongside this Team that taught me a lot).

The tasks assigned varied from person to person.

I did more basic level tasks, as if I was at the beginning, but I also intervened in all the preparation and finishing of the products. Doing everything and being in touch with everything is the most positive thing, regardless of the level of execution and the order of the tasks. Being present in the test kitchen, was without a doubt one of the best moments, because there we could see pure creation, success and failure. The creativity being expressed, analysed and applied.

Addressing a bit what service is, or service moments, I'd like to introduce you to a bit of how I experienced service, as a guest and as an employee.

Service has several moments: reception, canapés, tour, hot cuisine, petit fours, and coffee service.

When the guest arrives, they are welcomed at the reception where they are presented: the restaurant and the maturation chambers, with the products to be used in the menu. There they are given a short introduction to the menu in order to create expectations.

They go to the elevator and head for the 4th floor (lounge) where they are welcomed by a sommelier who presents the restaurant and the menu.

The canapés arrive by the cooks and finish at the canapés finishing table.

After this moment, the guests go down one floor and start the visit to the production kitchen, the test kitchen, the wine cellar, and finally the kitchen.

The kitchen is open with a counter and two tables, with a total of 23 seats available. The guest sits at the counter or table and the hot service begins, with 8 salty moments and 2 sweet moments.

The service is harmonized between the cooks, waiters and sommelier, with no "dead times" and where the dynamics greatly influence the atmosphere experienced in the restaurant by each guest.

After finishing the last dessert, the guest goes back upstairs to start the Cafeteria service with the petit four and finish with a digestive.

For those who smoke, there is a space on the fourth floor (a terrace terrace) reserved for this purpose, where the same care is taken as inside the restaurant and where guests are, in cold weather, tucked in with a robe. The service even outside the hot kitchen is accompanied in the same way by cooks and waiters.

The restaurant's identity merged with my own, relating my technical and flavours bases, with those found at Frantzén.

Frantzén has a very authentic cuisine base between French base, Nordic cuisine, present in products and preservation techniques, such as fermented and an Asian line of incredible finishing and flavour building. Fusing my bases and my vision with those found, without a doubt it was an empowerment of an identity, of my identity.

Much more than what I learned/seen of cooking, the structure, the operating model, the people management was what impressed and motivated me the most. Without a doubt an example and inspiration to apply in any segment.

To date, much of the content learned is already being applied to the existing model at O Paparico, in order to enhance and improve it. We can't stop in a world that doesn't stop. We have to make it happen based on content provided by experiences and learning. This is what differentiates and makes the process and the final result more authentic.

Paparico, is a project of a Team that merges knowledge, emotions and ambitions in a space that culminates in a special experience. I believe that each contribution, wherever it comes from, will always be a gain.

All this experience, fusion, growth, vision, creative and personal maturity applied directly loses value, but adapted to our world, is undoubtedly a great gain and an increase in quality.

In the most impartial way possible, I state that what I experienced at Frantzén was the best restaurant experience I have ever had. Maybe because it is the greatest contrast of realities, maybe because I am looking for something else, because of my experience, vision and goals, maybe because it is simply better.

However, this time in Stockholm was not just about Frantzén, it was about living a city identity together with those around, absorbing as much as possible of that culture and taking advantage of it. Many were the bakeries visited, pastry shops, restaurants, from the most traditional to “roulottes”, to restaurants with Michelin stars, ...

In a more general approach, Sweden lives a very different reality from the rest of Europe.

Although Sweden lives like the rest of the world, the covid 19 pandemic, there nobody wears a mask, because, the government has not decreed it mandatory. The limitations do not lead to site closures, they do not dictate the sacrificial regimes of sectors, services continue to be provided in a natural way that does not lead the country to disaster. Not being crucial, this difference of realities was very positive as far as the final balance of the experience is concerned, because at a time when everything is closing down again in Portugal, I embarked on this journey in search of knowledge.

Frantzén is without a doubt one of the restaurants that carries the essence of nature, relating it with technique and a well-marked identity to each dish.

The work we do at O Paparico is very much in line with this work, in the sense that we explore to the maximum the products and the recipes, relating them to the culture and the territory. I am not saying that O Paparico is the Portuguese Frantzén, but believe me, I was there and I saw it, and once again, in the most impartial way possible, I can say that the work we do at O Paparico is on par with this and many others with a bigger name.

It was a month of much learning, wealth of knowledge, sharing, growth. It was intense and very well used. The fruit of this trip already has the seed in the ground, now the work passes to the team at O Paparico, watering, caring, making it blossom until the fruit appears.

The process is a path that only makes sense when shared, hence this diary, hence this sharing.

The good moments are not only to "feed the ego", but to enrich those around us and those who feel them with us.




Translated by DeepL