If you've been following the country of Sweden's Twitter account, you no doubt already appreciate this grand experiment in which a very particular kind of personal restraint meets the power of social media: Each week, a Swedish citizen (a “Curator”) is given full control of Sweden's Twitter account, with the idea that tweets from individual Swedes like a high school student or an Iraqi immigrant will collectively help the world understand and become familiar with the country. These Curators may tweet as they please, or, as Sweden puts it, they are the “sole ruler of the world's most democratic Twitter account.”
This week, the sole ruler of Sweden's Twitter account is a chef — no, not that one; it is, rather, Björn Frantzén, the executive chef of Frantzén/Lindeberg, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Stockholm. As you might imagine, Frantzén has received a predictable onslaught of “Bork bork” jokes and accordingly made a point to distinguish himself (and all Swedish chefs) from his Muppet counterpart.
And so we have a pointed 140 characters rejecting the cultural import of the Swedish Chef: “As far as I know, no one in Sweden really cares about the Swedish chef from The Muppets,” he tweeted recently, echoing the somewhat disgruntled sentiment understandably shared by many Swedes.
Incoherent Chaos Muppets aside, the chef so far has used @Sweden to share his opinions on the chickens in the country (terrible), food bloggers (“Keep 'em coming!”) and Sweden's alcohol monopoly. Frantzén also has given us glimpses into the world of Swedish cookery, including new potatoes roasted in salted butter and autumn leaves, a beautiful wild turbot that will be “slowly grilled” for three hours and reindeer penis that will be “served grated over tartar of reindeer with hay ash, Vendance roe and smoked eel in smetana.” (His explanation — “Because we just can't keep on eating like we humans do! There is more things on an animal then the fillets” — is as good as any.)
The chef will be tweeting as @Sweden through the end of the week, at which point the world's most democratic Twitter account is turned over to another fine citizen to control. And to de-bork the image of Sweden.
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