Emma Bengtsson : Best Female Chef from NYC
- 2 Star chef in NYC
- Swedish roots cuisine
- “Best Female Chef” 2018 by the Best Chef Awards
More 2 stars chefs here. Other American chefs here. Other Nordic chefs here. More female chefs.
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Emma Bengtsson grew up in a small town on the west coast of Sweden and became interested in the culinary arts at a very young age, thanks to her grandmother, who was an avid home cook. The baking and cooking of Bengtsson’s youth grew into professional aspirations when she enrolled in Stockholm’s Hotel and Restaurant School, where she trained in every restaurant role, from savory and pastry to waiting tables and hostessing.
It was while working at Edsbacka Krog–the only Michelin two-star restaurant in Sweden at that time–where she discovered her love specifically for pastry, and worked there for four years. She then took a position at Restaurant Prinsen, one of Stockholm’s oldest and busiest bistros. From there Bengtsson joined Operakällaren, the award-winning historical restaurant located in Stockholm’s Opera House, where she remained for nearly five years.
From Sweden to the US in 2010
Prior to moving to New York, Emma worked at some of Sweden’s most renowned restaurants, including the two-Michelin starred Edsbacka Krog, Restaurant Prinsen, and Operakällaren. Emma attended Stockholm’s Hotel and Restaurant School after years of cooking at home with her mother and grandmother in Falkenberg, on the west coast of Sweden.
Former Aquavit Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark recruited Bengtsson in 2010 to join the restaurant as Pastry Chef. Bengtsson quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts, as well as establishing a new bread program. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions; and it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the Michelin Guide New York City in 2013 and 2014.
Executive chef at Aquavit : from 1 to 2*
Håkan Swahn, the owner of Aquavit, saw talent and fresh perspective in Chef Bengtsson’s skillset and offered her the role of Executive Chef in spring 2014. She accepted the job, and since then has injected the critically acclaimed menu with her personal style and experience. In October, her work garnered a second Michelin Star for Aquavit, making her the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so.
Chef Emma Bengtsson was named Executive Chef of Aquavit in 2014, after four years as Executive Pastry Chef at the restaurant. As Aquavit’s Executive Chef she has garnered (and retained) three stars from The New York Times and two stars from Michelin, the second female chef in the U.S. accorded that honor.
In fall 2018, Bengtsson was named “Best Female Chef” by the Best Chef Awards.
Bengtsson is also an avid dancer of bachata, a form of Latin American dance originating in the Dominican Republic, and participates in international summits and competitions.