Forrest-Picked Umami

Chef Filip Gemzell finds a signature dish in ice-coated Svalbard

Words by Madalena Vilar. Photography by Johan Ståhlberg.

They say inspiration doesn’t grow on trees. And in ice-coated Svalbard there isn’t much growing at all, as Filip Gemzell was able to experience during the period he lived and cooked in the island. Nonetheless, resilient and strong, some kinds of mushrooms were capable of perforating the permafrost and colonizing the land.

Luckily enough, head-chef Filip was there to make the best of them. Reminiscing the days of picking up mushrooms with his neighbour in the Stockholm suburbs, the Michelin-star chef seeked to concentrate the raw flavour of fresh picked mushrooms, which he best describes as “earthy” and “forresty”, making a soup that quickly became a crowd favourite.

Since then, the soup has evolved. At restaurant ÄNG, the team tried different types of mushrooms, reaching a successful umami explosion with a combination of chestnut and portobello. Served in small wooden cups in a plate filled with moss, the meaning of the presentation is to emulate the act of mushroom picking itself. The foam on top is made using aged Camelia cheese, a local product by neighbouring Hagarnas Mejeri.

ÄNG’s signature dish is very dear to Filip, evoking his own personal history as a young boy in Stockholm and a young cook in Svalbard.

Welcome to Tidbits, bite-sized content exploring tasty morsels that catch our eye and titillate our taste buds.⁠ Visually appealing and deliciously tasting treasures that we think are too good not to share with you – Bon Appétit!

Words by Madalena Vilar. Photography by Johan Ståhlberg.