Svartengrens is a meat focused restaurant and cocktail bar run by 3 partners who meet over their mutual love of the local soccer team. ‘Cocktails and meat is the best combination in the world, getting full on cow and drunk on liquor!’ says the namesake, chef Göran Svartgrens. I stopped by on my first night in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, to eat with the team and hear about how they handled their staff meal.
It’s Swedish law to give your staff workers a meal; which they contribute to, around 43 Kroner (about $5 USD) per shift. So although we have to do it, we do something a bit special. Our line chefs cook different things, to show their skills to our staff.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
We’re super tight as a team, almost a family: I see these people more than my wife and daughter. This makes each meal important. We have a chance to sit down and connect in a personal way with one other before we start the shift, and to fill ourselves. Everyone has better strength after they’ve eaten well.
After the meal, the front-of-house gets together to inform the shift with ‘meat school:’ looking at all the special meat and cuts on offer for that night; which we do to make sure all the waiters have a great knowledge of our meats.
THE TACO SONG
Every Sunday, we have a taco-cooking tradition; we also play 'Taco A Taco' by Amélia Muge on the stereo. One of the funniest things about Sweden is our absolute biggest food export: tacos. Everyone loves this meal. We also hold two off-site staff parties each year: one in summer and one in winter. We also enjoy getting together outside the restaurant and having drinks and a sauna together. When you do these special things, the staff stays around longer.
A while ago, one waiter started giving coffee mugs as gifts to the other staff members. Now it’s a tradition for us to give every single employee a coffee cup after they’ve been with us for a couple of months. Everyone has their own unique one (we also share coffee at the end of each staff meal. If they leave the restaurant, they either take their cup with them, or leave it here so when they come back to visit their cup is here, waiting.
The Meal: spicy chicken, grilled squash and pumpkin salad with feta cheese, soya mayonnaise
The team: Göran, Calle, David, Martin, Will, Mika, Victor, Lulle