Pop-up restaurant in soaring Swedish gondola opens for sustainable diners

Kabin 1274
© Courtesy of Kabin 1274

Famed chef Magnus Nilsson will be serving dinner for three days in Åre, Sweden … 4,200 feet in the air.

Magnus Nilsson, the chef of Fäviken Magasinet, is teaming up with clean energy company Fortum for a very unique giveaway – the chance to dine in the iconic Kabinbana gondola during Easter. Soaring 4,200 feet in the air, the “Kabin 1274” restaurant will serve a custom menu, along with stunning views from on high; “Views that could be very different in the future if we don’t act now,” notes the team.

“Nobody can say with certainty what climate change will bring,” they continue. “All we know is that the impacts will be felt around the world, and the Nordics are no exception. Our winters could become very different. The food we produce and consume today might change entirely in years to come. To stop climate change, we all have to change.”

To that end, the idea of the dinner will be a celebration of all things sustainable. Tickets to the three seatings are available exclusively through a giveaway, and here’s the twist: Travelers need to arrive to Åre in a sustainable manner, such as by train or electric vehicle.

This likely doesn't come as a surprise to those familiar with Nilsson’s culinary work. He is an original thinker and doing impressive things. Upon receiving a second Michelin star, the guide wrote of Nilsson's restaurant, Fäviken: "The team hunts, forages, grows and preserves – and this bounty is put to stunning use in the multi-course dinner, using techniques rooted in Scandic traditions."

And from the restaurant itself:

"We do things as they have always been done at Jämtland mountain farms; we follow seasonal variations and our existing traditions. We live alongside the community.

During the summer and autumn, we harvest what grows on our land as it reaches the peak of ripeness, and prepare it using methods we have rediscovered from rich traditions, or that we have created through our own research to maintain the highest quality of the end product.

We build up our stores ahead of the dark winter months. We dry, salt, jelly, pickle and bottle. The hunting season starts after the harvest and is an important time, when we take advantage of the exceptional bounty with which the mountains provide us. By the time spring and summer return to Jämtland, the cupboard is bare and the cycle begins again."

For a treat, you can watch Nilsson in action in season 3 of PBS's The Mind of a Chef series – he does things like forage and cook while camping in the Nordic winter, or create a dessert inspired by shards of ice from a frozen pond. It’s all lovely and inspiring. He was also one of the six chefs in the first season of the Netflix documentary, Chef's Table.

Watching both of those programs made me want to jump on a jet straight to Sweden – a desire that was conflicted by the irony of it all. Fly 8,000 miles round-trip to eat a sustainable dinner? Uhm, yeah. Anyway, Nilsson is on the same page.

“This event points out one of the real issues with our sustainability work as a business, how people actually get to our restaurant,” he says. “The vast majority of our customers do so by airplane and/or by combustion engine cars. By carrying out these three dinners together with Fortum, we want to do two things. First of all, we want to reward those who have made an active choice in how to get to Åre, second, we want to highlight to all of those who might not think about the fossil free options available to get here, that they are a real possibility.”

The special dining will take place over Easter weekend, April 20th to the 22nd. If you can get there by means of sustainable transportation, you can enter the giveaway here. As for me, I’ll be right back … checking Google maps for sailing directions from New York City to Sweden.

Pop-up restaurant in soaring Swedish gondola opens for sustainable diners
Famed chef Magnus Nilsson will be serving dinner for three days in Åre, Sweden … 4,200 feet in the air.

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