The staff of chef and The Mind of a Chef star Magnus Nilsson's Michelin-starred restaurant Fäviken are going to spend the next few months contemplating things like "the colour blue in nature" and "Swedish fresh water fish." Nilsson announced in December that he would be shuttering the Jarpen, Sweden restaurant for nearly 20 weeks each year so that staff members would have time to explore other creative projects that will help "create new and unique experiences for customers." A press release offers details as to what projects staff members will be working on while the restaurant is closed from February 28 until July 1. Themes include:
• The colour blue in nature
• Monastery life in Finland
• The Japanese mushroom garden
• Lupin beans and the use of their proteins
• Traditional and modern methods for extended storage of eggs
• Swedish freshwater fish
• The use of growing-beds heated with compost in a greenhouse
The release also notes that Fäviken will switch over to a tickets system, where meals are paid for "at the point of reservation" when the restaurant re-opens in July. In an email to Eater this morning, Nilsson explained "[t]he company that normally supplies our reservation systems has engineered a dedicated ticketing system for us that is integrated into the reservations system we have been working with for the last couple of years." This is what Fäviken will use when it reopens.
As for the closure and research, Nilsson tells Eater:
It's the first time we close like this, even though I have been wanting to do so for quite some time, it hasn't been the right moment to do it before, plus we haven't been able to allocate enough resources for it until now. It is as I am sure you understand really costly, not only to keep so many staff on without revenue in the restaurant but also to fund the projects in which we are engaging so that we get something meaningful out of the process.
Many restaurants today put a lot of resources into dedicated research staff, I believe that it is more interesting, more fair and more efficient to give those working in the restaurant every day when it is open, dedicated time to participate in the creative process instead.
I am really looking forward to seeing the result of these 20 weeks of creative work, at the moment I don't know what it will be but I am sure it will be interesting!
In recent months, a growing number of well known restaurants have switched over to selling tickets in lieu of taking traditional reservations including chef Daniel Patterson's San Francisco restaurant Coi and chef Paul Qui's namesake restaurant in Austin. Restaurateur Nick Kokonas (Alinea, Next) is working on a ticketing platform called Tock, which is set to help increase the number of restaurants using tickets instead of a classic reservation system.