Petter Nilsson

La Gazzetta

29, rue de Cotte
T. +33.01.43474705

Do you remember “Milarepa”, the television film Liliana Cavani directed, between “The Cannibals” with Pierre Clementi, Britt Ekland and Thomas Milian and “The Night Porter” with Bogarde and Rampling? For those who really know him, Petter Nilsson is just like the main character in this cine-parable: a mystic adventurer launched to discover himself. An ascetic, happily indifferent to the temptations of easiness, too connected with his career and profession. He’s always followed his own road, impracticable, devoid of shortcuts and banal word of mouth. Don’t you mention the word “bistronomy”, especially now that this term seems to have become a despicable synonym of a bargain place wherein to eat.

He walks away, continues on his road, totally uninvolved in current trends. He was a star when in Copenhagen his career was already foreseen, without sensing that the mysterious Swedish chef was already learning Italian from the “lead” titles he read on Gazzetta dello Sport, on the ferry that was taking him back to Malmö from the Danish capital, after work.
It’s not by chance, or perhaps it’s just the strength of destiny shaping itself, that after travelling across half the globe and exchanging Copenhagen with Paris, he then, one day, left the Ville Lumière behind him, with no regrets. And he did so to initiate himself, once and for all, in the energy of the great South, in Bordeaux, at the school of his sorcerer from Marseille, Michel Portos, the chef at Saint James. Today he’s at the Gazzetta, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? Petter loves to hide his tracks. Always with that minimal distance, with that total proximity, that total devotion to product nourished with a profound understatement that granted him the eternal respect and affection of Fulvio Pierangelini. The two outsiders were born to understand each other. They say little, but they say it well, in so many words. They don’t speak about cuisine, or techniques, but about ideas, sensations, like how to eliminate the superfluous, leaving the difficult task of unveiling the essence to a delicate nuance.

It’s natural that Petter couldn’t care less about the Gazzetta’s décorum, a sea port in Paris, a mixture of brasserie and signature alcove where North and South fit together in an ascesis of craftwork that seems to have reached its final, restless, meaning. Having reached the last stage of reincarnation – who knows if he will return to Sweden, if he will open a Parisian niche retreat, or if he will continue on his solitary journey to the South? – he’s the most raw, wild, learned and philosopher of all the Cook it Raw confraternity. This is why his dishes, his recipes changing in the blink of an eye, under the surprised look of his apprentices, Giovanni Passerini (he is Rino) and Andrea Dahlberg (Bastard in Malmö), today enlighten chanters of Nilsson’s diaspora. It doesn’t really matter where Petter may be now, or tomorrow. With him, even Milarepa downloaded Viber on his IPhone. He may well be a hermit, but a wired one, that is.


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Andrea Petrini