An Interview with Jonas Karlsson

The owner of Linnea, Kew Green, has been cooking in London for nearly two decades. We spoke to him about trends, seasonal ingredients and his personal favourites.

How long has Linnea been open for?

Exactly one year. It’s been a good year but we’re still working to improve.

Where does your cooking lie in the kind of spectrum of Scandinavian food?

It’s not pure Scandinavian food, I’m using different techniques in terms of marinating and smoking which is where my Swedish influence comes from. We don’t serve meatballs! It’s like a twist, plus I’m using my French training to mix it up.

Where was it that you trained?

A chef school in Sweden. I spent several years there. Then I worked in several hotels and restaurants in Sweden for four or five years. I’ve been over here for about fifteen years. The first eight years I worked in very classic French restaurants, which was a big part of my training.

So do you think people are more open to new flavours since you first came to London?

People know much more about food these days than twelve years ago. They are open to new flavours, and they know it doesn’t need to be expensive to have that special restaurant experience.

How important is using seasonal ingredients to what you do at Linnea?

Yeah, very much so. It’s a little heavier with stews and that kind of thing. I use a lot of root vegetables around this time of year. The menu changes every two or three weeks within the season as well.

Will you be using Scandinavian ingredients as well or is it more classically European?

I would say it’s more European. You still see some Scandinavian techniques, they might not be so obvious on the menu but it’s these kind of techniques that give my cooking the Scandinavian twist.

Is there a dish that’s always going to be there? What’s your favourite?

There’s no dish that’ll stay there all the time! At the moment, my favourite dish is our smoked scallop. It’s quite Swedish as it’s a fish dish that’s got loads of smoky flavours. Another favourite of mine is the Venison faggots, which is an old traditional English dish. I love the flavours of venison at this time of year, especially with braised red cabbage, which is quite a traditional match for venison in both England and in Sweden – especially at this time of year.

Date:
11th December 2014


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