Chef Nilas at Villa Franzén

Chef Nilas Corneliussen, Swedish/Danish (mother Danish/father Swedish).
Came to Thailand to do Thai boxing, was forced to stop due to an injury.
Studied economy at The University of Bangkok.
Was inspired by another student to think about becoming a Chef.
Wasn’t convinced that he could learn cooking in Thailand, so he returned to Sweden.

Since then, Chef Nilas Corneliussen has been working in several well-known restaurants like e.g., Esperanto in Stockholm for Chef Sayan Isaksson, a born Thai, raised in Swedish culture and with Thai food in his DNA. This was the first 1-star Michelin kitchen, Chef Nilas entered. Together they did many pop-ups, serving authentic Thai dishes, very popular in northern countries.

It was here that the love and compassion for the profession began.

He is also very familiar with Chinese cuisine. In restaurant Surfers, Stockholm, the owner Mymlan, gave him free hands to create and cook whatever was on his mind.

In restaurant NOMA, Copenhagen, a 3-star Michelin restaurant owned by Chef Rene Redzepi, where the “New Nordic kitchen” was said to have been invented, he became a team member. NOMA was, for years, ranked as the number one restaurant in the world.

Chef Nilas in the kitchen at Villa Franzén. Photo: Daniel Herron.

Björn Franzén’s “Villa Franzén”, is Chef Nilas place of work today.

Chef Nilas admires Björn for his drive and knowledge. In this ultra-modern kitchen, Nilas finds great pleasure to create and cook together with his young, fun team.

He is a fan of Nordic raw materials, especially mushrooms and spruce shoots.

Reminds him of the Scandinavian forests.

He only looks for the very best raw ingredients and the menu changes after the seasons. Villa Franzén’s signature dish is Oysters 63.4C topped with spicy pumpkin condiment, smoked cream, finger lime and sea buckthorn and also a beef tartar topped with löjrom (whitefish roe), homemade creme fraiche and Black Hungarian pepper flowers. 

Photo: Daniel Herron.

In the kitchen the music is loud while the team is working. It’s a casual and creative atmosphere with jokes and laughter.

Chef Nilas admits that he never cooks at home here in Thailand, but in Sweden he would cook at home all the time. When he goes for lunch/dinner he prefers more low-key food, like brasserie food instead of fine-dining.

To him the art of fine-dining is like handicraft, the precision, the combination, the look of the food. He loves his work and can’t think of any other so fulfilling job.

He enjoys introducing the Nordic kitchen to the Thai community. The guests are mostly foreigners during high season and more locals during low season.

He has just got a Swedish new Sous Chef, Mr. Martin Bergstrand, who not yet has acclimated to the warm Bangkok climate.

The young Chef Nilas, is a charming, warm, uncomplicated man, who enjoys life and takes in the best that life has to offer. He and his great team is a real asset to Bangkok.

Photo: Daniel Herron.


About Agneta de Bekassy

Author at ScandAsia and blogger on other websites as well. Swedish influencer in Bangkok

View all posts by Agneta de Bekassy

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