Sara Aasum Hultberg, at the age of 28 she is pastry chef at one of Sweden’s top restaurants. She has written a cookbook, managed a bakery in New York and won the prestigious competition "Swedish Pastry Chef of the year". But it is all about the freedom to create and a constant desire to evolve that moves her forward.
- I could never work at an ordinary bakery, making the same cakes over and over again. I need a challenge, and the freedom to create something new, Hultberg explains when we meet at her workplace: Operakällaren in central Stockholm.
Sara Aasum Hultberg, 28, is one of Sweden's top pastry chefs.
Operakällaren is indeed no ordinary workplace with it’s Michelin star and well renowned trademark. Furthermore they are responsible for all banquets at the Royal Castle. In between wooden panels, painted portraits in golden frames, velvet armchairs and royal blue carpeting Sara Aasum Hultberg spends her days writing dessert menus, and managing a team of three other pastry cooks. But everything started with a one-year education in Kristianstad, situated in the south of Sweden.
- I have always been interested in cuisine and baking. My grandmother baked a lot, and the creative side existed in form of artists on my father’s side of the family. But let’s be honest, I am a total sucker for sugar, she laughs as she reminisces about her early days.
Sara creates all the dessert menus for Operakällaren. This creation contains one of her favourite ingredients: chocolate!
Living the New York dream
The education to become a pastry baker included an internship, which she got at the Swedish café and bakery “FIKA NYC” near iconic Central Park, in Manhattan, New York. She must have made a good impression because after finishing her studies she was offered a job to manage that same bakery.
- When I worked in New York, I couldn't even pay my rent with the salary I got. And I only rented a room in an apartment! Most of my colleagues had two or three different jobs on the side. But I gained a lot of experience, and it has helped me in my career since.
Living the typical New York dream was a great bonus of course. The language skills that she developed and the lessons from the bakery were rewarding, but soon enough new adventures waited.
Following her passion and being creative is more important than having a detailed five year plan.
Becoming pastry chef of the year
Before starting her new job at Operakällaren where she has worked for the past eight months, she managed her own catering business, professionally styled photos of food and desserts for TV-commercials and made her own TV-appearances baking delicious sweets on morning television. Besides writing a cookbook with her favourite dessert recipes and winning the prestigious award “Swedish Pastry Chef of the year”. Yep it’s official, some people must have more hours per day then the rest of us.
- Winning the award “Swedish Pastry Chef of the year” in 2014 is my proudest moment in my career. It’s recognition that you’re doing a good job. It has helped me tremendously in opening up new work opportunities.
Sara Aasum Hultberg loves her rings Not So Tiny with a light blue sapphire and Not So Tiny Sparkle with a pink sapphire and white diamond sparkle. She combines them with her grandmother's old rings.
Passion, passion, passion…
Just like many of you mumbaigirls, passion, creativity, curiosity and new adventures seem to have guided Sara Aasum Hultberg in her career. It’s not necessarily about finding that “dream workplace” but to live in the now, and do something that excites you and challenges you to become a better version of yourself.
- I haven’t worked at the same company for more than two years in a row. I don’t feel like I need to plan for the future. What happens happens. I just hope I can continue to grow and find new challenges. Recently I visited Tokyo and completely fell in love with the city, maybe I’ll work there someday.
Sara at her work at Michelin-starred restaurant Operakällaren in Stockholm.
The rings: I love my two rings from mumbaistockholm. I wouldn't say that I'm a typical "jewellery person", but when it comes to rings I love to have a few classics. I try to wear them as often as I can, in my every day life and to festivities, and I usually pair them with my grandmother's old rings. I think it's the simplicity of the design that speaks to me. They are simple but yet so beautiful. The rings that I have are Not So Tiny with a light blue sapphire and Not So Tiny Sparkle with a pink sapphire and white diamond sparkle.
Can one have too many rings? No! If I could afford it, I would buy everything from mumbaistockholm!
How I style my mumbairings: I prefer to have one ring on one hand, and five on the other! Because of the simplicity of the design it never gets to be too much!
Name: Sara Aasum Hultberg
Favourite ingredient: Chocolate!
Most disappointing: That no one in my family dares to make me a birthday cake! I guess the pressure is too big…
Where I find inspiration: Travel, dining out with friends and trying new desserts, Instagram
Biggest challenge: Finding recipes for people that prefer raw food, or have special food request like no gluten or want it lactose-free.
Biggest misconception about a pastry chef: You don’t have to taste everything in the bakery like a lot of people imagine you’re doing. I would probably weight 150 kilos then!