1 Michelin Star Chefs: Alex Nietosvuori, chef owner, Hjem

The  Staff Canteen

Alex Nietosvuori is the chef and co-owner of one Michelin-starred Restaurant Hjem in Hexham, Northumbria.

 

Though he started off unconvinced that a career in the kitchen was for him, Alex grew more inspired thanks to the talented chefs he came across while he trained.

First, Daniel Berlin, one of Sweden's most ambitious chefs; Sam Nutter and Viktor Wågam at Bror (both of whom are now sous-chefs at Noma); Chilean chef Rodolfo Guzman, a restaurateur and the owner of World's 50 Best star, Boragó; and finally, at the culinary cutting-edge with Maaemo's Esben Holmboe Bang.

Hjem

The Hadrian Hotel, Front St,

Wall, Hexham NE46 4EE

Opening hours:

Monday    Closed
Tuesday    Closed
Wednesday    7–11pm
Thursday    7–11pm
Friday    7–11pm
Saturday    7–11pm
Sunday    Closed

Website: https://www.restauranthjem.co.uk/

Email: [email protected]

For media enquiries: 
 

Telephone: (+44) 1434 681232 

Twitter: @Restauranthjem

Instagram: @restauranthjem

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/restauranthjem/

biography

 Born in Landskrona, Sweden, Alex went to culinary school, where he didn't fare particularly well. 

However, from the moment he devised a plan, the chef became an unstoppable force. Three years with Daniel Berlin were followed by three years at Bror with Sam Nutter and Viktor Wågam (now sous-chefs at Noma) and a stage with Rodolfo Guzman at Boragó.

Then, the chef took on a position at three Michelin-starred Oslo restaurant, Maeemo, where he rubbed shoulders with the rising stars of the day, including Jordan Bailey, who bagged two Michelin stars for his inaugural restaurant, Aimsir, within months of opening it. 

After ten months, the chef headed to London to work with Tom Anglesea at The Laughing Heart in Hoxton.

Not wanting to occupy the already saturated market that is London, but keen to open a business in England, Alex set his sights as far as he possibly could from the capital, near Hadrian's Wall. 

What the guides say...

Michelin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hjem

The Swedish chef was well ahead of his own aspiration to own a restaurant before he was thirty, launching Hjem - home, in Swedish and in Northumbrian - with his partner Ally Thompson - when he was just 26. 

When they took over the premises, the couple planned on running the former public house as it always had been and to open a restaurant in due course. 

But in the midst of renovating the dining room, knocking down walls and improving the space came a Eureka moment: "It just turned into something special, he said, in an interview with The Staff Canteen.

Three months later, on May 1st, 2019, restaurant Hjem opened. 

Despite having capacity for 24 guests, numbers are kept between 18-20 for a sitting, with three in the kitchen and two people front of house.  

Alex's food style

The food at Hjem is very seasonal, simple, using very few ingredients but highly technical in its preparation. And, leaning into the destination restaurant model, Hjem is tasting menu only. 

Though influenced by his previous experiences and Scandinavian in design, Alex labels his food Northumbrian. 

The chef enjoys to deep-fry ingredients as much as the next cook, but particularly likes to experiment smoking and dehydrating them, and has not only increased the number of courses on the menu at Hjem since it opened, but how complex his dishes are. 

Though one might expect it would be difficult to find enough suppliers for the restaurant, the chef said his experience was overwhelminghly positive: for two months ahead of opening, he and Ally travelled the region to find suppliers - to great success. 

His favourite local produce? Venison, game birds in the autumn, spring lamb - whatever "the hard working people behind it" have to offer, and not vice versa. 

Awards and accolades

Michelin may have had the time and resources to visit before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, but it has so far largely been ommitted from the other lists and guides.

Marina O'Loughlin, however, did, and said of Hjem: "It’s the sort of restaurant that makes me remember why I love this job, that makes me believe — against all evidence to the contrary — that everything is right with the world."

Videos with Alex Nietosvuori

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th February 2021

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Alex Nietosvuori, chef owner, Hjem