Thesewords come from Swedish born Chef, Daniel Isberg, whom I had the pleasure to meet over a delicious lunchat the Charm Thairestaurant at the Holiday Inn, Patong Beach, Phuket.
I had heard so many positive things about this talented young man from my Swedish girlfriends, it is no wonder that I was curious to meet him.
As we never had met before I had no idea what he would look like, I asked him on the phone, “How are we to recognise each other”? He was quick in answering: “You can’t miss me, I’m wearing pink pants”. And indeed he did. He looked ravishing in his Bohemian outfit with spectacular sandals, dark hair and intense eyes.
Chef Daniel was born in Sweden and at a young age he loved to follow his grandmother’s steps in the kitchen. So it was not a hard choice for him to apply to a culinary school, which he did and, after graduating, he started working in Sweden.
His great passion for food has taken him all over the world. He has experienced exciting places, such as Greece, France, Monaco and Thailand, to name but a few.
He has always paid close attention to his host countries, studying their culture, traditions and lifestyle. Daniel has worked on cruise ships, private yachts, and has handled private catering, the latter atop Angel Falls in Venezuela, South America.
Believe it or not, at his relatively young age (I would guess mid 40s) he has cooked at parties for superstars as Alicia Keyes, the late Robin Williams, the legendary James Bond – Sean Connery, Bill Gates and last, but not least, the Swedish royal family.
In every single dish Chef Daniel serves, you can feel his genuine passion for cooking and creating dishes with an extra touch.
During his time in California, his eyes opened up to fresh market sources, to create ingredient driven menus of the area.
He prefers the straightforward tastes of the West coast, along with the influences of Mediterranean and Asian cooking styles.
In 2009 Daniel moved to San Francisco, California and opened his own catering company with his most popular Chef’s Table Free Range Dinners (underground dinners) in his kitchen. Since 2001, Daniel has been a member of the California Mercenary Chef’s group, a title to a collection of noted chefs that promote the food and drink of this great gastronomic region.
To become a good chef you have to experience every kind of role in the restaurant business. As Daniel explains, to be a dishwasher, waiter, bartender, consultant to the chef, etc., and he has done it all.
Daniel has managed to make a name for himself not only in his own establishment, but also with the organising of private dinners for Melanie Griffith, Bono, Antonio Banderas, Isabella Rosselini (daughter of the late, Swedish famous actress Ingrid Bergman), Calvin Klein, Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Springsteen and many others.
For a short time Daniel lived and worked in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. He set about to turn the Restaurant KOM into the number one “Eatery”, one of Poland’s finest gastronomic establishments. He choose the best products the area had to offer. Daniel has received several awards for his extraordinary appetisers and entrees.
After only 15 months in Warsaw, Daniel decided to move back to California. “It’s a dream, working as a chef in San Francisco with all its local, organic products all year round”, he explains.
Next to Daniel’s passion for food and cooking, he also has many other strings in his lyre: He has been modelling in Sweden, played rock music in California and studied Thai boxing in Thailand.
Life is a palette and it’s important to find a balance between passion and work, Daniel says. Today Daniel lives in Phuket with his Thai wife and a young child. He finds Phuket a good place to bring up a child, but admits that Phuket isn’t a big challenge business wise.
He is busy organising weddings and private parties and also hosts his “Chef Dinner Specials” twice a week. At these dinners, Daniel often serves his guests Swedish delicacies such as löjrom (Swedish caviar), and smoked deer or moose.
Daniel would, with great pleasure, come to Bangkok as a “Guest Chef” as he finds Bangkok an interesting culinary destination with all different nationalities and tourists passing through. Let us hope that in the near future he will have the possibility to do so. I would greet him with open arms as he will bring part of Sweden to Bangkok and that is what we are missing here. It’s a mystery that Bangkok until today still hasn’t got a good Swedish restaurant. Sweden is not only meatballs and sausages, believe me.
Agneta de Bekassy is a wonderfully connected woman who literally knows everyone worth knowing in Bangkok. Elegant, sophisticated and the ultimate social butterfly, she conducts many of EL’s feature interviews and coordinates the social pages.