Communal Table Podcast: Emma Bengtsson

Emma Bengtsson talks about open kitchens and (reluctantly) learning to sit still.

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter. Subscribe to the new Communal Table YouTube page and never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 53: Emma Bengtsson

Emma Bengtsson has always been stubborn and driven, and in many ways, it's served her well. Growing up as an elite athlete, she developed the intense discipline it took to rise to the top, and when she started working in kitchens, the same rules applied. She worked through the often intense pain of a spinal injury for many years, rarely asking for help and steadily getting worse. When her Michelin-starred restaurant Aquavit closed for renovation this past summer, she finally had surgery. She was more than ready for the physical part, but having to take time off and rest—that was a whole different story. Bengtsson opened up about learning to lean on other people, what it taught her as a leader, and the effect an open kitchen design has on a team dynamic.

Follow her on Instagram: @emma_bengtsson

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Previous episode: Steve Palmer talks about getting and staying sober, and the mission that fuels him.

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