Emma Bengtsson

Emma Bengtsson

Executive Chef
New York, NY

“At Aquavit, the quality of every ingredient is never compromised.”

A Modern Take on Traditional Dumplings

When I started culinary school, I found the passion of my life. I started at Aquavit as a pastry chef in 2010 and transitioned to executive chef in 2014. It was what I wanted. Aquavit has been around for a long time. While every chef asserts their own style and direction, the quality of ingredients has never been compromised. I think that's what makes this restaurant so successful. We’ve gone back to the roots of Nordic flavors and embraced a simpler style of cooking. I want you to really taste the ingredients.

Kroppkakor, a traditional Swedish dish with many regional variations, is definitely a heart-warming crowd-pleaser. I like to sear the dumplings and add a variety of mushrooms. The potato is rich and creamy and inside the onion and bacon mix is salty and little bit crunchy. You taste the earthy flavor of the mushrooms and the richness of the browned butter. The tartness from the lingonberry jam cuts through it all. It’s a beautiful combination. Idaho® Russets work best for this recipe because they have the best yield and are drier than other potatoes. It’s very satisfying to work with your hands and see something from start to finish. Being a chef is not a job, it's your life.

Swedish-born Emma Bengtsson left for New York in 2010 to be a pastry chef at the renowned Aquavit. In 2014, she became executive chef and the restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars. She was also honored as a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for Best Chef: New York in 2018, 2019 and 2020.