On May 31 in New York City, legendary Stockholm-based chef and restaurateur Mathias Dahlgren held a pop-up dinner for Scandinavian-focused foodies displaying the vegetarian attractions of his new restaurant Rutabaga. Named after the Swedish root vegetable that has become the only one of its kind to find itself in kitchens all around the world, Dahlgren's latest mission is to preach the value of eating more vegetables, with some dairy and eggs incorporated into dishes as well.
He has turned away from fine dining with its exacting treatment of animal proteins and sauces to focus more on creating the next generation of vegetarian cuisine: elegant yet casual and relaxed plates and ambience, influenced especially by natural and simpler cuisines such as Vietnamese. These dishes are perfect for sharing with friends, and, of course, offer a kinder and more sustainable type of eating for the planet.
"We have all the conditions for creating the next generation of absolutely world class vegetarian cuisine here and now — fresh produce, knowledge and interest. With Rutabaga, we want to take the lead in exclusively green cuisine, craved by everyone, whatever the occasion." —Mathias Dahlgren
During a panel discussion before the NYC pop-up dinner, "Try Swedish: Go Green," scientists, tech experts, chefs, and foodies discussed the importance of leading food trends away from decadent tasting menus with traditional wine pairings, towards a model of sustainability, health, and less waste. Dahlgren was joined by fellow chef Fredrik Berselius, the Swedish chef and owner of Aska, a Michelin-starred Brooklyn restaurant; Line Gordon, an associate professor and deputy director of Stockholm Resilience Center; and Marcus Ornmark, marketing manager of Electrolux Professional, and Green Spirit sustainable commercial kitchen and food service solutions.
For the Go Green dinner, presented to assembled food and travel editors and bloggers, several bright and flavorful veggie dishes were served complemented with organic, biodynamic and unfiltered wines. Even the pre-dinner cocktails were green—literally—and brimming with robust slices of cucumber.
Standout dishes were many but included the nibbles of oven-roasted soy-coated cashews, which were the perfect example of how to bring the umami flavor into a vegetarian meal. A Vietnamese-inspired carrot salad, dressed with vegan fish sauce and aioli was a revelation. A kale salad with parmesan; a fresh steamed egg with black trumpet mushroom, brown butter and miso; dessert salad with fresh raspberries followed by honeycomb-shaped chocolate slabs embedded with bee pollen... No one could say that this vegetarian dinner was boring, artless or flavorless!
Learn more about Mathias Dahlgren, one of Sweden's top chefs, here.
Experience the historic and luxury Grand Hotel, Stockholm's approach to gastronomy here.
Learn more about Sweden as a culinary, cultural and natural destination here.
Taste the amazing, innovative and fresh food culture of Sweden here.