Aska is the debut cookbook from chef Fredrik Berselius, following the reimagining and rebuilding of his two-Michelin-starred restaurant.
He celebrates the heritage and tradition of his native Sweden, his land in upstate New York, and a deep appreciation for the restaurant's home in Brooklyn.
Berselius shares his culinary journey of Scandinavian flavors and techniques through the courses of his exquisite seasonally-driven tasting menu, which features ingredients from an urban farm and local producers across the Northeast United States. With a stark and poetic Nordic aesthetic, Aska includes 85 recipes, evocative personal writing, and stunning photography.
"Mr. Berselius is the rare chef who thinks like an artist and gets away with it." --Pete Wells, New York Times
"One of the rewards of working as a restaurant critic for a few years is getting to see chefs growing into their ambitions. On my watch, few have done this as dramatically and successfully as Aska’s chef, Frederik Berselius. Aska, which opened beneath the ribs of the Williamsburg Bridge in July, is his third restaurant. And with each fresh incarnation, his cooking has taken a leap forward... I loved the chanterelles and their broth that surrounded the lichen and the swoosh of cream, cooked down to a caramelized sweetness, that was hiding beneath... Mr. Berselius is the rare chef who thinks like an artist and gets away with it... Part of the program at Aska asks us to look again at nature, and to try ingredients that aren’t sold in any supermarket. Mr. Berselius does impressive things with more ordinary materials, though, like the slabs of scallop and their dark-coral roe with elderflower-scented brown butter spooned over the top, or a simple and remarkably good stick of roasted king crab leg with tiny potatoes, cooked almost al dente... an amazing sorbet of raw milk served with little strawberries preserved during the summer, along with some fermented juice on its way to becoming wine. This was followed by birch ice cream under white slices of raw pine mushrooms and woodruff leaves, an odd, herbaceous and unexpectedly stirring combination. In my tour of duty, I’ve eaten a number of dishes that were supposed to represent a walk in the woods, but none came as close to capturing the forest’s aromas as this one."
--Pete Wells, New York Times (3 stars)