Björn Frantzén, one of the world’s great chefs, reveals the ingredients behind his perfect white shirt

‘Choosing the right flavours and raw materials is just like finding the right textures and fabrics in shirtmaking. You start with basic elements… then you can literally transform them into something extraordinary’

From his flagship restaurant, the three-Michelin-starred Frantzén, in Stockholm, chef Björn Frantzén has long ruddered the Scandinavian culinary scene, with his establishment acting as an irresistible magnet for travelling diners who go there for its menu that brings together locavorism and the Asian kitchen. There are Norwegian scallops with chicken dashi, lardo and vin jaune; Arctic char is jolted up with sansho pepper, miso and lemon; and frozen lime marshmallow arrives with a bit of sake, matcha and young coconut.

Though firmly rooted in Stockholm, Frantzén's fingerprints extend beyond Sweden (outposts include those in London, Singapore and Dubai), and, with his ability to unify influences from across the continents, he’s widely venerated as one of the great contemporary chefs who stamps his own personality and distinctive style onto a menu with huge success – a meal at one of his restaurants is often regarded as something that transcends the act of eating. Of late, Frantzén has collaborated with another Swedish marker of quality, Eton Shirts, to create the perfect custom-made garment.

Established in 1928, Eton Shirts has since become celebrated for producing some of the world’s best luxury men’s shirts – and just as Frantzén shapes and tinkers with each dish that hits the kitchen pass, so, too, does the label with its own creations, as every cut and detail is imbued with thought and a near-century’s-worth of craft.

“In every dish, I infuse a piece of my personality – a story that unfolds on the plate. Similarly, Eton breathes life into fabrics, creating custom-made shirts that tell a unique tale with every stitch”, says Frantzén.

The focus of the partnership has been on the label’s custom-made service, which allows the client to create their garment according to personal taste, including the fit and style that best suits them, what type of cuffs and collar they want included, and whether they wish to add some monogramming. Throughout the campaign, Frantzén wears his own custom-made Eton shirt, which has been produced in a signature twill (slim fit) with a pointed collar and a single cuff, meanwhile the initials ‘B.F’ have been added for a final dash of personal detail.

Below, we talk to Frantzén about the partnership between the two Swedish icons, his own style preferences, and the similarities between tailoring and arranging a dish…

GJ: What are the parallels, if any, that you see between tailoring – or, more specifically, creating the perfect white shirt – and executing the ideal dish?

BF: Well, both are really about mastering your craft, by combining the innate function with finesse, and really diving into the details. Choosing the right flavours and raw materials in the kitchen are just like finding the right textures and fabrics in shirtmaking. You start with basic elements – whether it’s a simple ingredient or a traditional fabric – and through creativity and close attention to detail, you can literally transform them into something extraordinary. Just like how I choose the best ingredients for my dishes, choosing the right fabric and cut makes all the difference in a shirt.

What kind of similarities do you find between Eton Shirts and the type of garments you wear in the professional kitchen? Are your chef whites fairly tailored – if so, why?

I would say there are quite a few. First, both need to maintain sharpness – whether in an open kitchen or closed – and they need to be practical, comfortable, and of good quality. It’s important that my chef whites meet those standards – they’re like armour for me and my team in the kitchen. I find that they convey the same level of professionalism and poise that a perfectly cut Eton shirt does. Plus, both need to withstand the demands of a busy day without ever looking dishevelled.

What initially drew you to the brand, and what do you look for in the perfect white shirt?

I’ve always been impressed by Eton Shirts – I’m Swedish, and, in Sweden, they’ve been a household name for a while. Their shirts are truly second to none; just consider the craft, the quality, and their overall aesthetic – I resonate with everything about Eton. My day-to-day style is quite minimal, so I tend to lean towards pieces that are timeless, and when I look for a perfect white shirt, it has to have an impeccable fit and feel that are as good as it looks.

Why did you choose specific features, such as the classic pointed collar, the wrinkle-free Signature Twill and the rounded cuff for your shirt?

For me, each choice was about striking the right note; I wanted a shirt that was truly perfect for me. The pointed collar is a sharp yet versatile choice that works in both important meetings and nice dinners. As for the wrinkle-free Signature Twill, that’s a non-negotiable for me – like I said about my chef whites, I love a crisp feel all day, especially with my demanding schedule. And the rounded cuffs – they’re just the right blend of subtlety and sophistication, like a well-plated dish.

As a chef, you’re often deeply involved in your kitchen work. When do you find the opportunity to dress more formally, and how do you express your personal style through formalwear?

I actually love when the opportunity to dress up for events comes up; it’s so nice to step out dressed up and be on the other side of the kitchen. I’m lucky that I have the chance to attend formal events and be in environments that require formalwear. It’s a time to socialise, step away from the hustle, and be present.

Do you have a specific formalwear uniform that complements your Custom Made Eton shirt?

Absolutely. I stick to a streamlined, elegant style for formal events. My go-to is my custom-made Eton shirt, as it layers perfectly under a sharp suit. Actually, just the other week, I wore it to an event at Brasserie Astoria, in Stockholm, celebrating my new wine collaboration – it was perfect.

You’ve mentioned that your style is quite pared-back – so, I’m assuming this custom shirt fits in nicely with the rest of your wardrobe. Or are you sometimes a little experimental?

It goes with almost everything I own, from my super casual clothes to my more formal pieces. Though I truly appreciate traditional styles, I also enjoy pulling off a classic casual look with my custom-made white shirt, chinos, and my favourite New Balance sneakers – that’s more reflective of my everyday style and personal taste. I like to keep it classic and minimal.

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