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The chef who champions food


in sweden


Fleeing the floods of Bangladesh Nahid Hasan landed up in Sweden where he now runs one of the country’s most successful Indian restaurant chains. Curry Life spoke to him at the launch of his latest venue, Shanti Ultimat, where the focus is on authentic Bengali food and culture.


Ultimat, Stockholm’s newest and, arguably most beautiful Indian restaurant, has attracted a mixture of celebrities, foodies, and luminaries from the world of media, business and diplomacy, including the Bangladeshi ambassador himself. The star attraction, Nahid, has taken some time out to talk to us about the restaurant’s ethos. A thoughtful, self- taught chef, Ultimat is Nahid’s and his brother Naim’s fifth restaurant in the capital city, and their third to concentrate


“W


hy Bengali food?” Nahid Hasan asks the rhetorical question. The launch of


specifically on Bengali food and culture. Nahid has achieved success the hard way. The question, “Why Bengali?” is one he is more used to answering with his heart. “Let me tell you a story about why I introduced Bengali food,” he says. “Working in Indian restaurants I used to get orders from customers in five-star hotels. Once I had a phone call from a customer who asked me where our chef was from. I answered Bangladesh and he asked why we didn’t have an Indian chef in our restaurant. I suddenly realised, here I am promoting Indian food and promoting India through food, yet


Bangladeshi food is even more tasty and diverse. That stuck in my mind” “Sweden is a lovely country and this a great city,” he continues. “But I also love my country of origin. I took up the challenge of promoting the kind of Bangladeshi food that my mum used to cook, the sort of food that’s available in the small villages or street cafes in Dhaka. Bangladesh is also a very friendly and hospitable country; that’s what my restaurant is about.” Born and brought up in Bangladesh’s sprawling capital city of Dhaka, Nahid’s early culinary influences were informed


Nahid Hasan 7


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