I was born and raised in the south of Sweden. In my youth, I cooked for my siblings (out of necessity) and I loved to experiment and combine different spices and ingredients. As a teenager, I worked in various restaurants after school and I dreamt of becoming a chef. However, working class ambitions initially pushed me down a more academic route and I went to university to study Nanotech Engineering. About halfway through I realized that this choice would mean a career spent in front of a computer in a lab for the rest of my life. It wasn’t for me. I took a hiatus to work and ended up working in a wine shop for a year. It was during this time that the thought of a career in gastronomy crept up to the surface again, and I decided to take the plunge. I spent two years intensely studying food and wine at culinary school. My free time was spent honing my practical skills, staging in restaurants. After graduating in 2008, I spent a brief stint in Stockholm I settled in Copenhagen where I spent the next six years, at first in some really fine dining establishments and then later for a more casual, wine-focused style of restaurants. It was also in Copenhagen that I met my future wife.
In 2009 I entered my first competition, The Best Sommelier of Sweden. To much surprise (myself more than anyone), I finished second. I was immediately hooked. More than anything, I loved the fact that I was forced to find weak points in my game and improving them. My runner up place allowed me to enter the Best Sommelier in the Nordic Countries which I won later that same year. I came back to take the Swedish title the next year, and for the first time got to try my luck on international scene, but it would take three years of intense study for me to win the European title.
Nearing thirty years of age, my job had evolved quickly and I had gone from being a floor sommelier to wine director for an ambitious group of almost a dozen establishments. As great as that experience was, I found myself office bound, spending more time with spreadsheets than on the floor with the guests and the bottles. I decided it was time for a change of scenery again. A group of winemaker and sommelier friends on a gastronomical tour of Scandinavia convinced me: Go to New York! The decision was fairly spontaneous, but I felt a real connection with my newfound friends. I moved a few months later. Since then I live and work in SoHo, as Wine Director of Charlie Bird, a neighborhood restaurant that combines great food and a fun, friendly atmosphere. Just my kind of place. Oh yeah, there’s wine too.
Seven years after my first competition, I went to Argentina in April 2016 to compete with 60 other national candidates, all the best in their respective countries, to win the title Best Sommelier in the World. This competition is only held every three years, since its inception in 1969. After four days of grueling tests of our knowledge, service and blind tasting skills, ending with a final in front of a live audience and live streamed to the world, I became the 15th ever to earn the title won the title Best Sommelier of the World.
I still live in downtown New York and spend most my days at Charlie Bird. I also spend time traveling the globe, holding tastings, dinners and seminars on all things wine and hospitality. Together with two other great sommeliers I run King Street Sommeliers, a company focused on cellar management for individuals, wine program development for restaurants, wine related events and so forth.
Wine is a passion for me, and I feel so privileged to be able to work with it. But more than anything, it’s the people who make the world of food and wine so fantastic. With that said, I’m happy you’ve found your way here, make sure to connect with me