Exploring the Culinary Culture of Madison, Wisconsin and Surrounding Area

Spotlight on Chef Nicholas Johnson of Restaurant Magnus

By on February 1, 2010 in Events, Flavors of Madison with 0 Comments

The Flavors of Madison, benefiting the American Liver Foundation, is excited to have Chef Nicholas Johnson of Restaurant Magnus on board as an elite participant in their 2010 fundraising event.

Chef Johnson developed his passion for cooking early, when at the age of sixteen he found himself interested in food.  “At Thanksgiving I was always in the kitchen while everyone else was watching football,” he said.  He attended MATC, and then headed to New York for an internship.

“I drove down with two other people that I went to school with.  I got there on a Saturday and called the guy at the restaurant and said I wanted an internship.  He asked when I was going to be there, and I said that I was there now!”.

Chef Johnson returned to Madison, where he has been with Restaurant Magnus since 2001.  He was instrumental in the change in menu that Magnus went through, leading the shift to Scandinavian cuisine.  “People thought we were crazy, but we were brave enough to do it.  We could have gone with the continuing trends, but we wanted to find a way to make our own trends”.

That bravery has paid off with a unique menu and culinary view.  The chef believes in using as many local farms for meat and produce as possible, pointing out that it is the Scandinavian way to “use a lot of the earth”.  He attributes this philosophy  to the old days of cooking, while believing that Madison is a culinary leader, enabling such uniqueness to thrive.

Photography by SucculentPhotography.com

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