Emma Bengtsson is the Executive Chef at Aquavit, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. She grew up in a small town in Sweden and became interested in the culinary arts at a very young age, thanks to her grandmother, an avid home cook. The baking and cooking of Bengtsson’s youth grew into professional aspirations when she enrolled in Stockholm’s Hotel and Restaurant School. It was during an internship at Edsbacka Krog, the only Michelin two-star restaurant in Sweden at that time, where she discovered her love for pastry. After four years she went to Restaurant Prinsen, one of Stockholm’s oldest and busiest bistros. From there Bengtsson joined Operakällaren, the award-winning historical restaurant located in Stockholm’s Opera House, where she remained for nearly five years.
In 2010 Bengtsson joined Aquavit as Pastry Chef. She quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts, as well as establishing a new bread program. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions; and it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the Michelin Guide New York City in 2013 and 2014. Bengtsson was offered the role of Executive Chef in spring
2014. Since then she has injected the critically acclaimed menu with her personal style and experience. In October 2014, her work garnered a second Michelin Star for Aquavit, making her the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so. In May, 2015 Aquavit was awarded a Three Star review by the New York Times.