Chef Nilsson in the land of the Faroese sweater

Chef Nilsson in the land of the Faroese sweater

In case I’m not actually the last one to know this: There’s a Nordic angle on the PBS series The Mind of a Chef. I’m a foodie and a fan of Anthony Bourdain enterprises in general, so I’ve been meaning to catch up on the whole Mind of a Chef series— even halted Bob just last week when he started to watch it without me. I had a few knitting/sewing friends visiting last weekend, and over dinner on Sunday Kate happened to mention there was an episode shot in the Faroe Islands, land of some of the most striking sweaters known to mankind. So of course we all curled up in my living room with our knitting and called it up on Netflix.

The second half of Season 3 focuses on Magnus Nilsson, head chef of the tiny, hyperlocal Swedish restaurant Fäviken and a student of Nordic culture. In Episode 15: Documentation, Nilsson dons his Faroese sweater (worn in multiple eps) and travels around with sweater-clad members of the family that inhabits the tiny island in question — collecting birds’ eggs from insanely steep hillside roosts and tasting air-cured meats, while the camera takes in breathtaking shots of the island and its beautiful sheep, from which the family’s livelihood derives. Sadly, they never actually mention the sweaters, but they’re front and center regardless.

Until I sat down to work on this post, I hadn’t put together that Nilsson is also the author of The Nordic Cookbook, which Nordic-curious knitters have been drooling over since its release last year. I ran across this talk he gave at Google, wherein he discusses the geology and ethnology of Scandinavia and the larger Nordic region with regard to food/culture. The footage of him standing in front of a projection screen in a Google meeting room obviously can’t compete with the vistas on Mind of a Chef, but if you’re interested in Nordic culture, both are worth your knitting-while-viewing time.

For more on Faroese sweaters and a great pattern source, see: New Favorites: Faroese colorwork

12 thoughts on “Chef Nilsson in the land of the Faroese sweater

  1. Great to know. I did get my hands on that cookbook & fell in love with the photos. Have yet to actually cook anything from it (no reindeer ;)) but it is extremely inspirational!

  2. I’d taken a break from the Mind of the Chef; now seems like a good time to go back to it. I mean, c’mon – cooking and awesome sweaters? Why isn’t there a show pairing a dish and a pattern? That would be great.

  3. If that didn’t whet your appetite, Netflix also did an awesome original series called “Chef’s Table” where you can see Nilsson. That whole series is stunning!

  4. Watched this episode a few weeks ago. Of course ogled the sweaters. ;) His whole season is just…. My favorite.

  5. Thanks! Now i just must go there, living in Stockholm, sweden, i have no excuse not to.

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  7. Yes, I was obsessed with every shot that gave a good view of those sweaters when that episode first aired (seems like maybe a year ago at least??).

    Gave me the same feelings as when I first saw Sarah Lund put her iconic Gudrun&Gudrun sweater on in the Danish tv series Forbrydelsen (The Killing). Her sweater sure set off an international furor amongst knitters on several continents. If you haven’t seen it, the series is older — first season was in 2007 or 2008 — but I think it still holds up to viewing, it’s better than the US remake, and the sweater(s) definitely are worth the watch!

    Link to an image of the sweater:

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