Eater loves our new Fäviken book
The authoritative food and fine dining site praises Magnus Nilsson’s new book for its passionate but measured take on modern gastronomy
Even in today’s restricted restaurant environment, Eater remains a go-to source for good, up-to-date gastronomy news. The site has just listed its favourite books for fall 2020, and the roll-call features chefs, cooks and authors very much in the public eye at the moment, such as the UK baker and broadcaster Nadiya Hussain and Marcus Samuelsson of the acclaimed Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem. However, there’s one author who has very much stepped away from the stove, and yet still made the list: Magnus Nilsson of the late, great Swedish restaurant, Fäviken.
Eater singles out his brilliant new book, Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End, in which the chef describes how this simple, remote hostelry became a world-class destination, as well as how the industry it was a part of has changed, and why Magnus eventually elected to pursue new projects - most notably buying and running an apple orchard.
“Although the book covers the lifespan of Fäviken, including lookbacks at the first title Nilsson published about the restaurant, it is not an elegy,” explains Eater’s staff writer, Jenny G. Zhang. “There are no laments here, but rather a thorough catalogue of all the dishes that Fäviken served, ruminations about craft and haute cuisine and sustainability, and a long-awaited account of ‘Why Fäviken had to close, really.’
“The book contains recipes for many of the restaurant’s dishes — ranging from the simple berry ice to the more demanding ‘Scallop I skalet ur elden cooked over burning juniper branches,’ with extensive headnotes — but its purpose is not as a cookbook. It is a tome (beautifully put together, as is typical for Phaidon) that is made for fans of Fäviken’s, of Nilsson’s, and more importantly, of the way of life he espouses, one that is passionate but measured.
“That is best expressed in one of the book’s final essays, one dated May 12, 2020, in which Nilsson articulates gratitude that he was able to close his restaurant on his own terms, for Fäviken would not have survived the pandemic. ‘If one day some years from now I wake up in the morning and feel the same burning desire to run a restaurant that I felt for many years at Fäviken, I won’t think twice about it,’ Nilsson writes. ‘But if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay too. There are many other things to do in life.’”
And, while we’d of course agree with Magnus on this last point, we’d also encourage readers to make a little room in their lives for this wonderfully engaging book. Find out more and order your copy here.