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Linda Granebring

Freelance Chef, Paris

Linda Granebring

Freelance Chef, Paris

Linda Granebring

Freelance Chef, Paris

In this episode, Swedish chef Linda Granebring prepares one of her recent dishes. Linda grew up on the Island of Hasslö in southern Sweden. In her family home, she was surrounded by fresh produce, grown, harvested and cooked by her parents. Almost a decade ago, she moved to Paris, drawn by the culinary diversity of the city. Paris was her eventual launching pad into professional cooking, defining her style which is influenced by French and Scandinavian cuisines. Today though, being an excellent chef also involves being environmentally conscious, which is why she strongly advocates for a no food waste philosophy in cooking by having more control over what one buys in the food market and greater efficiency in managing kitchen resources.

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Does the kitchen setup influence your recipes and cooking?

When I worked at The Broken Arm, a concept store in Paris, for four years I was able to create new recipes and progress in my cooking. The kitchen was really small there, it didn’t have a extractor hood, so I was preparing a lot of raw, marinated or slow-cooked food avoiding steam or smell. The small kitchen limited my use of space, but at the same time the challenge of a small space allowed me to be more creative within these boundaries. I had to be very organized, everything had to be well arranged, everything in its respective spot.

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How was the cooking experience in the Friends Space different to The Broken Arm, for example?

Working in a kitchen without an extractor hood can be complicated because you can’t cook everything. At Friends Space, I was really happy to encounter a cooktop with an integrated ventilation unit. On top of that, this setup looks nice because you don’t have an extractor hood above your head.

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left-com Working in a kitchen without an extractor hood can be complicated because you can’t cook everything. right-com

So, to make up a good kitchen, design and function have to go hand in hand?

Sure. In general, a kitchen has to be well organized, well planned and clean, of course. It has to be functional to enable a smooth cooking process.

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What appliances or tools do you use most in your own kitchen or working on freelance jobs?

In general I keep it simple – a good knife and a good oven is fine! Above this, I use a powerful blender to prepare sauces and make food powders as well as a a big mixing device to mix, beat and prepare pastries. And then there are all the small, yet important utensils, like a microplane that I use to finely grate spices, for example. When working freelance I have to be flexible and use what’s at hand. I love when the venue has a good oven with a powerful grill function or a plancha that I can use to grill produce.

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Which dish turns heads at parties or freelance gigs, in your opinion?

A recipe from my recent book, Mon premier livre de Food Pairing, of course. In the Friends Space, for example, I have prepared a very simple but really tasty dish. Originally, it was a tomato salad with grilled nectarines and burrata, but I like adding the spice mix za’atar, made with sesame, hazelnuts and thyme. As I usually cook a lot with fruits, I like the sweet and salty combinations, tomato-mozzarella or burrata, which is a classic. For this recipe, one day I was grilling nectarines and then it came to me that they could go very well with these other ingredients. As a professional chef, you have a library of tastes in your mind. You see a certain produce, like nectarines and you can right away associate different tastes, other vegetables or ingredients that might go along with it well.

When preparing the dish at Friends Space, which appliance was the most useful to you and why?

The oven! The grill function was great. The nectarines turned out perfect! They got the charred surface I was looking for in just a couple of minutes but didn’t overcook. Also, the oven preheats really quickly which is helpful.

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Bearing in mind your rather minimalistic approach, how do you see your own style of preparing food and dishes in a broader, overall culinary context?

Actually, what I do is very simple. I come up with straightforward recipes that are well thought through and prepared with good products, seasonal fruits and vegetables. I always have an element that adds to the deliciousness, like a tasty sauce or spice mix. And I use different herbs that introduce freshness. If the composition is not fresh enough, I include a crispy ingredient. Also, the plate always has to be visually appealing. It has to be beautiful and nicely presented.

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left-com Also, the plate always has to be visually appealing. It has to be beautiful and nicely presented. right-com