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Style Profile: Fredrik Berselius

Only a few months after opening, Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius’s Restaurant Aska in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was awarded two Michelin stars. Fredrik flawlessly blends modern Nordic cuisine with rich New York food culture.

How did you end up as a chef in New York?

I fell in love with New York after my very first visit. The same thing happened the first time I stepped into a kitchen. Although I had never thought about becoming a chef, there was something so fascinating about it and I just knew I had to give it a go.

How would you describe Aska’s philosophy?

I believe that the food and the drinks should always be in focus. We want the food to reflect Brooklyn and New York, where we are based, but we also want to be inspired by nature and what grows locally in the Northeastern region of the United States. Having grown up in Sweden, naturally, our philosophy is rooted in Nordic cooking and flavours.

It took you only four months to be awarded with two Michelin stars. What is the secret?

We always strive to work with the best ingredients for each specific purpose. Finding the right producer of a specific ingredient takes a lot of time. We can easily spend hours searching for the perfect potato! I am very proud of all my colleagues who put their heart into making Aska the best experience ever. In the end, it is all about hard work.

Aska is often mentioned as the perfect example of modern Nordic cuisine. How do you feel about this comparison?

I think it has really helped raising awareness about the Nordic cuisine. Our Nordic connection and philosophy is very evident in our food. It was natural for me to start working with flavours and ingredients that I grew up with. It is important that there is substance behind what you do and you must always find ways to improve.

What are your best New York tips?

Visit Williamsburg, Bushwick, Harlem, Central Park and The High Line. For museums I would recommend Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum and Dia Beacon. Wildair is great for food and wine. Or go upstate New York for a unique nature experience.

For more inspiration, visit Aska's Official Instagram. Photo: Karl-Edwin Guerre.