Q&A with ICEHOTEL’s Michelin Star Chef: Alexander Meir
We spoke to Icehotel’s chef, Alexander Meir; the Michelin-star head-chef of the twelve-course Chef’s Table at the Veranda. The Chef’s Table is much more than just a dinner. It welcomes guests to a unique exquisite food experience with the local food culture.
1. Wow! Icehotel’s Michelin-star chef – how have you come this far?
Working for the Icehotel near 7 years, I started as Icehotel’s chef for a winter season and then made it to the Head Chef position – it’s been 3 years now. Before-hand, my training was at the Michelin-star restaurant Le Bearn in Geneva. Then I became Executive Chef at Oro Verde Hotel and at the Salinas Yacht Club in Ecuador before moving to Swedish Lapland.
2. What is it like being a chef at the iconic ICEHOTEL?
Working at the unique ICEHOTEL is amazing. Imagine you’re in the middle of nowhere, close to the polar circle, in a small village beside this amazing piece of art – the Icehotel. It is a place where humans and nature live together. Reindeer walk through the village, spot moose through the windows and awe at the northern lights and brightest stars in the sky. This is a place that I can have the pleasure to contemplate the beauty of our planet- what dreams are made of.
3. The Veranda at the ICEHOTEL is an incredible restaurant – what makes it so unique?
We are a special restaurant in many ways. We have the chance to place starters and desserts on plates made with ice from the river, the same ice is used to build the Icehotel. Can you imagine eating a starter with a fish from a river served on a plate made from the same river? It is crazy and amazing and then like I said before, we are in the middle of nature and we can serve a 7-course fine-dining dinner.
4. Okay, so what inspires your dishes?
My inspiration is nature, when I drive to work I see all the beauty that I have around me and then my head thinks and imagines dishes, new creations.
5. What are your favourite local ingredients to use and what’s your favourite dish?
My favourite local products are reindeer and cloudberries, an amber coloured edible fruit similar to raspberry or blackberry that grows in the arctic tundra. My top dish is moose with chocolate sauce and pork belly.
6. Are there any Swedish food techniques you use?
The food techniques that are typical up here is smoking meat or fish. It helps to conserve it longer. You can cure fishes and meat with salt and sugar.
7. Is there a new menu every winter?
Yes, we make a new menu every winter and we use the principal ingredients like reindeer, arctic char, moose, cloudberries, lingonberries every year but the sauces and the veggies we have a variation of. The cooking techniques get a boost and evolution every year. This year, the dessert side was put together with Daniel Roos – one of the world’s best pastry chefs. We try to get closer to the perfect dish every time we make a new menu.
8. Finally, can you give us a sneak peek of what’s on the menu this season?
The menus are not 100 % set in stone yet. We do know that some of the ingredients will be arctic char, reindeer and cloudberries.
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