Aquavit - Swedish Breakfast Pancakes with Homemade Strawberry Jam
This is a dish that Chef Emma Bengtsson has been making since she was a child. She is not a big fan of breakfast but tends to make these pancakes for lunch. They are not super sweet so they are perfect to eat any time of day!
Recipe contains gluten and dairy.
Emma has worked extensively with City Harvest and has committed proceeds from this recipe to be donated to them.
City Harvest helped start the food rescue movement in 1982 when a group of New Yorkers saw that New York City had an abundance of excess food even while a large number of its residents struggled to feed themselves and their families. Today, City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables.
CHEF EMMA BENGTSSON'S STORY
Emma Bengtsson grew up in the small Swedish fishing village of Falkenberg and originally wanted to be a fighter pilot. In her youth, Emma would go to shooting ranges with her father in preparation for a military career, however, her grandmother was an avid home cook and inspired her to go on to study at the International Restaurant School in Stockholm at the age of 16. Emma went on to stage as a pastry chef at Edsbacka Krog -- the only Swedish restaurant to hold two Michelin stars at the time. Here, she discovered she enjoyed working as a pastry chef and after graduating, she continued to work at the restaurant for four years. She then went on to work at Operakällaren within the Royal Swedish Opera as a pastry chef for five years.
After vacationing in Mexico and a quick stop in Manhattan, Emma knew she wanted to move to New York City. In 2010, at 29-years-old, she got her chance when then Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited her to join the team as pastry chef. Her interpretation of classic Scandinavian desserts quickly garnered critical acclaim with Aquavit winning a Michelin star. Emma caught the attention of owner Hakan Swahn, who offered her the Executive Chef position in 2014 when Jernmark resigned. Although Emma was initially hesitant and refused, she took her delicate approach to pastry and adapted it to savory dishes which led to the restaurant being awarded two Michelin stars the same year. This award made her the first Swedish woman to hold two Michelin stars and only the second in the United States after Dominique Crenn.
In 2016, under Emma’s culinary direction, Aquavit opened a second restaurant in London. At Aquavit, Emma is serving the kind of food she likes to eat. The fare is true to Scandinavia offering light and bright dishes with a focus on fresh ingredients, seafood and traditional methods like pickling and preserving.
Now, Emma has revamped the menu at Aquavit, adding a fresh new take and expanded bar menu. The menu now allows diners to enjoy a full meal at the bar offering an extensive selection of snacks, starters, mains and desserts. In the main dining room, guests can now enjoy her three, five and eight-course tasting menus.
Q&A WITH EMMA BENGTSSON
Story Plate: What are your top three go to restaurants in your hometown (NYC)?
Emma Bengtsson: Batard, Blue Ribbon, and Gramercy Tavern
SP: What’s a must have or your favorite kitchen item and why?
EB: A frying pan it's basically all I use in my kitchen.
SP: What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
EB: Cheese and charcuterie. It's my favorite thing to eat on my days off. I love cheese and charcuterie and fresh fruits.
SP: Is there another female within the culinary industry that inspires/influences your work?
EB: Dominique Crenn because of everything she is doing for the industry and for the environment. She is constantly educating us on what restaurants should be doing and how we can make the planet better
SP: If you didn’t choose to go down this career path, what would plan B have been for you?
EB: If I was not working in the culinary field, I probably would have been in the military. When I was younger, I would go to the shooting ranges with my father in preparation for a military career however my grandmother was an avid home cook and inspired me to go study at the International Restaurant School in Stockholm at 16.