“I love to compete – it’s all about pleasure and pain”
Johan Backéus, Chef AVEQIA Stockholm and Chef of the Year 2017.
Johans first food memory is from when his mum baked cinnamon buns and you could smell the aromas all the way upstairs.
“You’d go to the kitchen, grab a cold glass of milk and stuff your face with as many fresh buns as you could!”, a memory he probably shares with many of us!
Johan was interested in cooking early on and as a child he would spend hours in the kitchen together with his mum and grandmother. After his first work experience as a kitchen porter, he got hooked on the restaurant industry.
Johan is inspired by other creative people; it can be something as simple as seeing a great potter working. Just watching the work, liking the colour or shape of what’s being created, or that it makes him think of a special ingredient. Inspiration also pops up during a forest run or a restaurant visit.
Johan lives in Stockholm, where it’s hard not to try a new restaurant every time you go out. That said he feel that Shibumi, Oaxen, Sensum and Volt are favourite haunts that are worth repeated visits.
“I think most of my inspiration comes from my time at LUX, but I also really like the food that is produced at Esperanto group” , so when we ask him about role models, he mentions legendary chefs Henrik Norström and Sayan Isaksson.
Johans advice to young chefs is that you can go very far with strong conviction and drive. He recommends giving the industry a few years so you get a chance to experience it properly. There are so many things you can do that are food related that you don’t have to work weekends, late nights and public holidays. If you love to work closely with great produce you can work with different suppliers, become a butcher, fishmonger, sales person or work as a course leader in a cooking studio….(!)
“I’ve promised myself to become as good as I can at cooking, not to become complacent and to always push forward towards new goals. I’m also lucky in that I have a really supportive family”
This has clearly been a successful philosophy. Johan has competed in Årets kock (Chef of the Year) several times; 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. He’s got as far as the finals every time (except in 2012) and won the silver twice (2013 and 2016). We are also very proud to say that he won the gold in 2017 and can now call himself Swedens’ Chef of the Year 2017.
About his job at AVEQIA he says: AVEQIA is a great place where every day is different from the one before. I like the freedom of when we’re creating menus together and I love working close to our guests.