Niklas Ekstedt, 34, opened his first restaurant when he was 21, has his own show on Swedish TV and runs two restaurants in Stockholm, 1900 and Ekstedt. The idea for the latter one, where all food is cooked over an open fire, popped up about the same time as his apartment burnt down. We don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not – but regardless – we’re happy the idea came to life.
TELL US ONE THING THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT NIKLAS EKSTEDT?
Well, I’m probably the most restless person in all of Stockholm. There’s always loads of things happening in my life, and I’m always caught up and committed to loads of different things. On one hand, this is really positive, as my passion and drive has helped me with my career. But, on the other hand, it also means that I work far to many hours, and by doing so am kind of slowly breaking myself down. It’s a really tough balance when you love your job as much as I do.
YOU GREW UP CLOSE TO ÅRE AND LATER WENT TO SCHOOL THERE. DOES THIS MEAN YOU GO SKIING IN THE WINTER, OR DO YOU ESCAPE THE COLD WINTER DRREAD AND HEAD FOR THE SUN?
I really see the irony in this since we cook all of our food over an open fire, but I hate too much heat. Not the cosy heat, which we get in our restaurant, but the sticky heat of a tropical climate. I just can’t stand it. On the other hand, I love the sun and feel pretty depressed if I don’t get enough light. Combined with my huge love for skiing and snowboarding, this means that me and my family rarely go somewhere to lay on a beach. Instead, we tend to go skiing in the alps during the winter, and hiking in the Swedish mountains (”Fjällen”) during the awesome Swedish summers.
A FRIEND VISITS STOCKHOLM FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHERE DO YOU TAKE HIM/HER FOR DINNER?
I’d take them to Volt. No doubt about it. It’s a great contemporary Swedish restaurant (with a twist) and it’s run by some really cool young guys who are passionate and ambitious about what they do. I would never decide on what to eat, or what my friend should have, but rather have the guys decide for me. After that we’d probably head out into Stureplan and get drunk – mostly so that we can enjoy Oaxen’s brunch the day after.
WE’VE READ SOMEWHERE THAT YOU GOOGLE YOUR GUESTS BEFORE THEY ARRIVE? TELL US MORE!
Each night before we open our doors, we go through the guest list. We check if they’ve eaten with us before, if they’ve asked for me especially, if I know them from somewhere and so on. If it’s just a random name we won’t always Google it – but regardless of who it is, we want to give them a great experience. It’s not just about the food, it’s about the atmosphere and making them feel welcome and special.
WE RECENTLY WROTE A BLOG POST ABOUT BURGERS (A GREAT PASSION OF OURS). WHO SERVES YOUR FAVORITE BURGER?
Haha, funnily enough – I hate burgers. But if I had to go somewhere, like if I was forced into eating one, I’d go to Matbaren.
WHAT MADE YOU WEAR THE CORNICHE TODAY?
I love everything that’s got a nice ”Stockholm”-touch to it. I really like the local stuff and especially when it’s done by three young entrepreneurs like yourselves. I want to support you I guess – and this is actually something that Ekstedt stands for – that ”local feel”. I chose the black one because it matches my style and attitude in general – it feels really down to earth and Swedish, but still classy and stylish.