Why I Love Cooking

bjorn and a group of chef friends from Natural Gourmet Institute, Institute of Culinary Education

I love cooking. It is my outlet. If I were a painter, food would be my canvas. The kitchen has become the place where I can “let my hair down” become inspired and create something beautiful. 

I could never paint, draw, or play an instrument, so creating art and music was never my thing, although I was the lead singer in a band in elementary school and I loved acting too. As soon as I reached puberty and my voice became deeper, I was fired from the band and lost the confidence to put myself out there and act, so becoming a performer was never to be.

When I did my undergraduate at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, I began cooking simple dishes and it felt good. I felt in control and at ease. Later, when our kids were born, I decided that I would cook a home cooked meal at least 5 days a week so they would grow up eating good food. Although they were not always happy with my decision (other kids were having pizza or burgers) they have come to appreciate it as they’ve grown older. Now that they are in college, they love coming for weekends at home with dad’s homemade food.

As my cooking skills and confidence grew, I felt at my best when I was in the kitchen. I understood food and the rhythm of cooking.

 For me, rhythm controls everything—music, sports or cooking. The rhythm is about what ingredients flow together, how you season, how you use heat and beyond. My absolute favorite time is a Saturday afternoon, when I can put on some nice music, open a bottle of wine and create something beautiful and delicious. It not only feeds my need for an artistic outlet, but also feeds and satisfies one of the most basic needs of family and friends—the need for nourishment. I enjoy knowing that they are eating whole food, quality ingredients and the nutrition it brings them.

My love of cooking drove me to learn more about nutrition as a way to help people be their best and teach them how to prepare meals full of nutrition and flavor.

All around me, I see that many people have enough to eat, but are sometimes sadly lacking nutrition because of the choices they make. It is often through no fault of their own—perhaps they’ve never learned how to cook healthy meals, believe they can’t afford it, or even worse, are sometimes sold food portrayed as “healthy” that is filled with sugar, sweeteners or preservatives, often in processed and fast foods.

When I was turning 40 I had a good job in finance as an asset manager in Iceland, but I was not happy. I desperately needed a challenge and a change. One day my wife asked what I would want to do if there were no obstacles. I immediately said, “I want to study to become a chef!” Three months later we moved to New York City, with two young kids, where I studied at Natural Gourmet Institute, Institute of Culinary Education, to reach my goal. It was the best decision I’ve ever made and has helped me hone and further develop my cooking skills. I was certain I wanted to make something related to food my life’s work—perhaps start a company, or a restaurant. 

That’s when I was introduced to collagen made from the skin of wild caught Icelandic and Norwegian Cod and my life was once again turned upside down. It changed my life in such a dramatic way, healing me from injuries, that I decided that sharing this would be my passion going forward. So, just björn was born. As I’m writing this, my first products are hitting the market. I am so excited to be able to offer a product that is so healing.

I hope you find your passion and your artistic outlet. I hope you act on doing what you love and are able to experience the joy of helping your friends, family and community in the process.