Two Michelin-starred restaurants are gearing up for a one-of-a-kind dinner of international proportions. Chefs Jacob Holmström of Sweden’s Gastrologik (and upcoming restaurant, Fyr) and Harrison Cheney of Sons & Daughters will team up for a collaborative meal in early 2024. It’s a pairing close in heart to both chefs: Cheney did two stints at the Stockholm restaurant, where Holmström served as his mentor. That was before Cheney came to San Francisco to lead one-Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters, where he earned the Young Chef Award from the Michelin Guide this year. Holmström, meanwhile, led Gastrologik in Stockholm with chef Anton Bjuhr; the two-Michelin-starred restaurant ran from 2011 until its closure in 2023, earning a reputation for its strong connection to local ingredients, the farms and producers they worked with, and sustainability. Together, the two chefs are preparing a 20-course meal highlighting New Nordic Cuisine techniques with seasonal Northern California produce, cured local fish, and preserved goods.
Although the two dinners are slated for January 24 and 25, there’s no menu quite yet; instead, the menu will, in a sense, be written by the season. Cheney and Holmström will rely on what’s at the farmers market that week and planning will go from there. It’s how they both prefer to cook and how things were done at Gastrologik, where they let the produce decide what would be on the plate. “We will definitely have a menu format,” Cheney says, “but when we start looking at the farm list and the produce list, things will change. We definitely will make tweaks and that, for me, is the exciting part, the dynamic part of cooking. It’s not stagnant or stale.”
That’s not to say there isn’t any menu planning happening at this point. The other side of the plate will reflect successful planning and forethought: ingredients that have been pickled, fermented, dried, or otherwise preserved will also be a cornerstone of the menu and dishes. Preservation was a large part of the programming at Gastrologik and now, it’s a part of how Cheney cooks at Sons & Daughters. Winter can be challenging for menus highly dependent on the seasons, as Gastrologik was in its time and at Sons & Daughters now, but both chefs say it’s when they become the most creative.
A Swedish curry dish at Gastrologik highlights the restaurant’s cooking techniques and ethos. It’s built on preserved herbs such as caraway, dill, fennel, and coriander. The team harvested the seeds while still soft, then preserved them in salt and brines, Holmström shares. Those seeds are then brought out of the brine and created into a Swedish curry paste used on scallops, langoustines, or squid, then caramelized and cooked with salted butter in the dining room. Cheney and Holmström plan to recreate this dish anew, using Cheney’s pantry and market finds. “I think there’s going to be a lot of interesting and exciting techniques — and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Cheney says. “That’s one thing at Gastrologik that we learned: it should be fun, cooking. We should enjoy it. If we don’t, then why are we doing it? I think that’s gonna be very obvious when the guests come.”
Along with Cheney, Sons & Daughters chefs de partie Alexander Hay and Nikolas Wais also worked at the Stockholm restaurant, and Cheney says they’re excited to cook with Holmström again. Similarly, Holmström is excited for the opportunity to do a guest appearance but with a chef and cooks he knows, and who know his techniques. “It feels like we can start on a completely different page,” Holmström says. “We can start in the middle of the book, instead of starting with the first chapter when you come to a new place. You’re going to be able to taste something that’s more unique, something that’s more like taking the philosophy of the restaurant and implementing it on the new site.”
The Gastrologik x Sons & Daughters dinners (708 Bush Street) will be held on January 24 and 25 with seatings starting at 5 p.m. The 20-course menu, including caviar, costs $325 per person; wine pairings cost $165 per person, and non-alcoholic beverage pairings are available for $115 per person. Reservations can be made via Tock.
Update: December 7th, 2023, 1:45 p.m.: This story has been updated to reflect that Gastrologik was located in Stockholm, Sweden.