It can be a lonely life that of a supper club hostess and chef. You haven’t got the team and camaraderie that you do in a restaurant. Most of the time it’s just you: you doing the shopping and ordering, you doing all the prep, you laying the table, you cleaning the toilet before guests come so that they don’t realise what a slob you are generally, you cooking all the food, every single course, you clearing the table, you doing the washing up, you putting everything away, you doing the laundry, ironing the tablecloths and napkins, you… on your own when everybody has gone home, rubbing your sore feet because you forgot to drink water, going through the evening in your head to review any mistakes, smile at successes. Just you.
This weekend was the most fun I’ve had in ages: I got to celebrate the Swedish midsummer meal with a Stockholm supper club hostess Linn Soderstrom. We’ve worked together before on the ill-fated Global Feast project in 2012 (don’t ask, it was awful) and I was keen for us to do this again.
Linn has been working as a chef in restaurants since she was 19. She’s only 29 now but is a veteran of kitchens. It was so cool to discuss food with a fellow obsessive, to brain storm dishes and ideas, to have a laugh with someone, to piss about in the garden making garlands for our guests while I practised my Swedish, to dress up in traditional Swedish outfits, wear clogs and play Abba.
I’ve just got my Big Green Egg and together Linn and I broached its virginity by smoking a side of home-cured salmon in it. I was taught how to make pickled herrings from scratch with Attika vinegar. I learnt how to culture butter. I got a few new tricks for curing fish.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I AM SWEDISH. My name Kerstin is Swedish. I’ve always fancied Swedish men. I like pickled herring. I identify as Swedish. I’m …transwedish.
Here is the evening in pictures.