Creator, innovator and entrepreneur
" Maître Rôtisseur Daniel Crespi is described as 'part time restaurateur, Sommelier and hedonist' "
On the cover of his cookbook “The Hedonist”, Maître Rôtisseur Daniel Crespi is described as “part time restaurateur, Sommelier and hedonist who spends his time eating, drinking, smoking and writing himself through life”. He is also a creator, innovator and entrepreneur. Daniel always has a thousand ideas. Nobody has accomplished as much during 15 years working in Stockholm reflects a colleague. “There’s nothing special about that. Everybody surely wants to develop and improve himself”, says Daniel.
Of Italian descent, Daniel likes to spend time in the Mediterranean. Favourite city Barcelona is visited annually with his family. Eventually lured back to Sweden everything did not turn out as planned, on reflection turning out much better. He contributed to the first Michelin star for fine dining Restaurant Lejontornet (Lion tower) with strong Nordic kitchen influences. “Achieve one star and you have to choose” Daniel says, “either strive for the next star or do something else”. For him it was the latter.
Realising the need for an alternative, Djuret (The Animal) a rustic bistro was born. One animal species per week is served used from nose to tail. Guests were served crispy pork rind with drinks, most uncommon at the time. In the basement Daniel started his own charcuterie. Here he got the idea of “pre rigor mortis”, a dinner with newly shot game from forest to table within 240 minutes. “A unique experience”, Daniel says, “exciting for guests who bagged the few seats”. “Meat is tender with subtle crispness of cucumber”, he explains. Everything was used, for example fried testicles, tartare of heart, grilled kidney and blood.
More successful concepts developed within the property: an unused conference room was transformed into “Tweed”, an English cocktail-bar; part of the hotel reception became “The Burgundy”, a wine bar with a selection of wines from Lejontornet’s well known wine cellar.
Every concept was successful but not all survived as Daniel moved on to new ideas. “Everything does not always turn out the way I thought but that’s ok”, he says with a smile. Every co-worker is included in the process, the result: enthusiasm great, staff turnover low, talented chefs want to work with Daniel.
Daniel’s restaurant group is situated in one block in Stockholm’s Old Town. The concept developed where clients can enjoy a “walking dinner” starting in The Burgundy followed by signature meals in any of the several restaurants ending in Tweed’s generous armchairs with its extensive drink list.
A Chef who became a Sommelier is now everything from creator to janitor. That’s Daniel. “When I was a young “blueberry” the English Chef Marco Pierre White was my big idol”. To learn about taste he cooks the raw product in different ways.
Cherish the qualities found in water, onion and black caviar. That´s Daniel’s philosophy. “Restraint is bad, gluttony a sin, hedonism a pleasure”, he adds. The boundary can be vague but with his sure instincts Daniel always knows the right way. A pre rigor mortis dinner with black caviar or Swedish smörgåsbord is always right.
Photos from “Hedonisten” (The Hedonist cookbook) are courtesy of Calle Stoltz (c)
Translation into English by Margareta Henry, Chargée de Missions Honoraire