Nepo kitchen revisited 2021

NEPO Kitchen Consulting AB

Another year slips into the past, generally it wasn’t much of an improvement from the previous year, our whole industry I struggling to survive while the whole world is fighting with the covid virus, the implications of which has impacted our industry and related industries during 2021.

Here is a quick recap on my 2021 there were only a couple projects but even so big jobs they were and still are.


Kajen: The rebuild of the Kajen progressed during winter, as the rebuild started to piece itself together and the rebuild kept ticking over. During January I attended a gelato course held by the local Carpigiani supplier. After many years of making, tasting & building an opinion about the quality of gelato and sorbet, I've just had the opportunity to reverse all those years and start from scratch. Understanding the product and its composition is the key. It just goes to show that you can still teach old dogs’ new tricks.


I continued with the Kajen project, planning for the opening, meeting with prospective suppliers. During February the floor was cut up for plumbing and drainage installation.


I continued with the Kajen project, planning for the opening, meeting with prospective suppliers. Early march the floor was filled in again, during the rest of the month the central floor heating was completed and tiling the walls started.


Down at Kajen our outside severing areas started to take shape with new furniture, but still a little cold for sitting out.


We started with some food trucks, and our “top Box” kitchen while planning for and waiting for two new concepts to take shape a fast-food unit that we called “JFK” junk food kitchen serving primarily American street food. At the same time our top box was going to get a face lift and be turned into a grill restaurant.


Our bar from previous years and our Pergola both received a face lifts an new look and impressive new furniture. At the same time one end of the walkway along the wharf frontage was widened with new decking sun chairs and restaurant tables, the other end of the walkway was encompassed with a new pergola and again impressive new furniture.

During June Kajen developed offering assorted food trucks and happenings, including our pergola restaurant “grill”, quay side café, music, entertainment. Kajen gained momentum with the work at home daily corona walkers, wandering locals, the social media hip and Stockholm explorers.


The new central kitchen was quickly taking shape the completion of the tiling, the installation of the walk-in fridges and the ventilation canopies were installed. The new kitchen equipment arrived. During July we were fully operational with 600 seats both undercover and al fresco, it was fantastic to see how these filled up at the weekends and for evening sundowners and dinner. Our new JFK concept was up and running and our grill was in place and busy.


Early August the kitchen floor was finished, and the equipment was installed. The kitchen was complete and in operation on the 17th of August. As the restaurant wasn’t fully rebuilt the kitchen became our central kitchen for our street side operations. Our café started to take shape with tiling and furniture installation.

Around the middle of August, I received one of those once in a lifetime phone calls & was offered the job as executive chef the Swedish pavilion at the upcoming world expo in Dubai. Say no was difficult to leave Kajen an impulsive and vibrant project that I had been involved in for 16 months.


Arriving in Dubai for the first time one is overwhelmed by the buildings, hotels and freeways. Dubai boasts around 120 5-star hotels. Most of the big brands have at least one luxury hotel in each suburb.

We had a mad scramble to prepare for the opening 1 October, recruitment, training, deliveries and sorting operational logistics. The biggest challenge is loyalty from the suppliers, we in the kitchen want flexibility and service, In Dubai they only want money, payment in advance, worst case scenario is cash, if one asks for credit 7-10 days the suppliers think you are mad, if one mentions 30 days credit and a handshake deal as in Sweden, it’s a clear no, no, no, no, no, no, no.


Dubai is full of great photo opportunities, beaches, tall buildings, and city scapes which seem to dominate.

All the glitz and glam here in Dubai is crowned with logotypes, every building, company making, creating, or selling something sticks their neon gizz on it, “if it’s worth doing do it well & flaunt it”, tell everybody you’re doing it and rub it in their faces, there’s no quiet achiever here. Of course, it’s not all bad the whole world comes here to see and study how it can be done, the ideas from this melting pot are major world influences.

Out at the expo site it was full steam ahead with corporate guests and conference banqueting. We had a fun time making a special space week menu, creating some innovating space theme presentations.


There's lots of great food here in Dubai the locals are spoilt rotten with a wide selection of culturally correct and innovative restaurants and full focus kitchens most of the big hotels feature speciality restaurants with speciality executive chefs and cutting edge WOW concepts.

I’m in the process of working my way through all the pavilions here at the expo 2020, a fantastic array ideas and national pride. I’m trying to break them down and categorise them into groups and point rank them, the list is still a work in progress and will be published on my blog.

We've been busy at the pavilion flying the flag, and presenting a selection of Swedish dinners, lunches, buffets ect. They've been a great success, many guests trying our Swedish flavours for the first time. We've imported many products direct from Sweden, extremely complicated import regulations but well worth the effort. The authenticity of the products makes the theme more believable.


On the 2nd of December we celebrated the UAE's national day 50 years of consolidation between the local Emirates, we had 300 000 visitors at the expo with all the imaginable prearranged pomp and festivities.

We had the king of Sweden by on a PR trip generating interest in Swedish big business, we did a VIP external catering at the Ritz Carlton Hotel here in Dubai, it’s the kind of thing we in the branch enjoy, we get to meet new chefs have a look at their kitchens and their operation and toss around some ideas together. The chefs that came down to run the show Gunnar & Jimmie did a great job the Ritz Carlton crew helped out big time as well. Yes, and the king was there as well.

We finished the year with a traditional Swedish Christmas smorgasbord, and then a seldom seen rainstorm.


Good luck for the future.

Goodbye 2021 & welcome 2022 and whatever challenges you bring.

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