Lindor Wink is an internationally recognized culinary champion who has already skied more than 100 days this winter. Representing his Swedish homeland, he finished in sixth place at the world chef championship, Bocuse d’Or, in 2013. When we spoke last week, however, the former ski racer was just coming off of a shift flipping burgers at Switzerland’s Ski Lodge Engelberg where he's worked as a chef for the past three winters. In the offseason, Wink, 27, continues to make a name for himself in the culinary world as the coach of the Swedish Junior National Culinary Team.
Assuming you're not making the junior chefs do dryland training, what are you coaching them on?
There are so many rules to follow [in competition]. My work is to guide them on how they should think and how they have to work—what is the best way to work to win.
With the culinary competitions; you never know what to cook to win. It's a game. You have six hours and you have to cook for 60 people. We have two years of training for the Culinary World Cup for juniors. You have to be ready when it's game time, but that's a long time to try a thing, eat, eat, eat, then try a new thing.
Two years of training is a long time. Has it paid off for you?
We got second place last time. I want to be a world champion and this will be my last chance. I have to win.
Have you always been competitive?
I ski raced for four years, maybe six. Of course, you would like to win. But it's a bit different; When you ski, you know what you need to do for the fastest run. In cooking, of course, you have to cook nice food, but you don't know if you have the best food. That's the biggest difference. Competing is the same though—I get a kick out of it and I have fun.
That's the fun way with the cooking. You can never learn everything because you'll always find something new. You never learn 100 percent. The world is so big.
In skiing, if you watch the guys and girls on the Freeride Tour when they try some new tricks—if you don't try, you never know if it's possible or if it's good enough. It's a little bit the same as cooking.
What's your favorite dish to make?
I'm a big fan of ice cream because I like to eat it.
Even when it's snowing?
You can, of course, eat ice cream in the winter. I grew up with vanilla ice cream for breakfast. I didn't like bread with butter. The other moms were like, 'What the fuck?'
Is that still what you cook for breakfast?
I don't eat breakfast. I don't have time. I get up really quick, ski for three or four hours, eat some lunch, take a 20-minute nap, then I'm ready for work. That's every day.
So does everyone from the sous chef to the dishwasher get after it too?
For me, it's important that my people in the kitchen like to ski, to keep the motivation up. It's so boring in the village if you don't like to ski. You ski, you eat, you sleep, and work, work, work. For five months it's perfect. I have time to ski every day. That's a perfect match.
Coming from Are, Sweden, what got you hooked on Engelberg?
My first thought when I got here was, 'Where are the slopes?' I always loved to go on the slopes and I had never tried skiing off-piste. I thought, 'Where are the tracks?' Then I followed the tracks off-piste and that was amazing. Engelberg is so small but off-piste is really amazing.
I like the nature around the mountain. It's freedom for me. It makes everything a little bit easier to live in the mountains.
What was on the menu today?
Burgers. Everyone likes burgers. It's the end of the season and there are almost no more guests.
If the season's over, what are you still doing there?
There's still snow on the ground.