As an American youth who is guilty of becoming blindly wrapped up in the fads of the culture around me, I sometimes find myself forgetting that the American perspective is not the only perspective. Music, cinema, fashion, cuisine all hold important places within other nation’s cultures as well as our own. We have done it, and they have done it. They have learned from us, and we have learned from them.
As Americans push towards developing new trends in restaurant appeal and dieting practices, other nations, such as Sweden, are doing the same. Being surrounded on a daily basis by the advertisements and media appeal for fast, delicious, marketable food, I have realized that I can easily find myself forgetting where I am between the flour tortillas of a Taco Bell quesadilla. Growth in American restaurant chains has caustically worked away at our culinary practices reflecting upon the location in which we live.
Growing up in the Central Valley of California, my family frequented the Monterey Bay coastline. Seafood restaurants were everywhere: all serving generally the same menu, but holding their own identities and stories. When eating at one of the many restaurants, you knew where you were on the map. These were not cookie-cutter restaurants with the motive of mass appeal such as McDonald’s and other fast food chains. These restaurants were selling an experience that only their address at the end of the boardwalk could sell you.
Within the video clip above, Magnus Nilson (One of my chef crushes) of Faviken restaurant in Sweden discusses the unique identity of his restaurant through his use of location as a means of setting his restaurant apart as its own dining experience. Not only does he use the land to benefit from all of its local and seasonal ingredients, but he also uses its unique location to draw in diners that want more than just an easy culinary experience. I deeply believe that, in a country of so many climates, cultures, and pivotal locations, the idea of cuisine and ingredients giving identity and a sense of community to the area from which it comes from is a wonderful trend in today’s food culture.