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March 6, 7:00 P.M. Dinner: The Women of Aquavit Featuring Chef Emma Bengtsson Presented by Capital One

March 06, 2024 07:00 PM

Experience an Evening with the Women-Led Team Behind this Iconic Scandinavian Restaurant   

25 11th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA

This iconic New York City restaurant, launched by Håkan Swahn in 1987, first lured diners with its refined Scandinavian cuisine and modern environs—charting new culinary waters at the time. Over its more than 36-year tenure, the restaurant has fostered excellence. Case in point: Aquavit is currently helmed by four-time James Beard semifinalist chef Emma Bengtsson, most recently recognized as a 2024 semifinalist for Outstanding Chef.  
In addition to her James Beard Award accolades and winning critics’ hearts (a three-star review from Pete Wells at the New York Times) in 2015 Bengtsson officially became the second woman chef in the United States to earn two Michelin stars after Dominique Crenn. A history-maker in her own right, for this evening we honor her during Women's History Month where she proudly brings her all-star team of women for a celebration of her culinary heritage and expertise that defines Aquavit’s ethos today.  

Dining Table $170 | Internal Chefs Counter $185 | External Chefs Counter $150  

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Hors d’Oeuvre 

Rye Puff Pastry with Pickled Carrot  

 Cucumber Shooter with Smoked Sunflower Seeds and Serrano Pepper Oil 

 Matjes Herring with Egg, Onion, and Sour Cream on Rye 

Elsa > Aquavit, Lingonberry, and Orgeat


 Smoked Artic Char with Roasted Beets and Pomelo  

 Cod Mousseline with Fermented Turnips and Kaffir Lime Beurre Blanc 

 Whole Roasted Rack of Lamb with Orange-Glazed Carrots and Marble Potatoes 

 Spruce Pavlova with Vanilla Yogurt Sorbet and Lemon Cream  

Tre Monti ‘Doppio’ Pignoletto Frizzante 2021 

Famille Vincent Mâcon-Villages 2022 

La Caravelle Listrac-Médoc

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About Emma Bengtsson:  
Emma Bengtsson grew up in the small Swedish fishing village of Falkenberg and originally wanted to be a fighter pilot. In her youth, Bengtsson would go to shooting ranges with her father in preparation for a military career, however, her grandmother was an avid home cook and inspired her to go on to study at the International Restaurant School in Stockholm.
Bengtsson went on to stage as a pastry chef at Edsbacka Krog—the only Swedish restaurant to hold two Michelin stars at the time. Here, she discovered her passion for working as a pastry chef and, after graduating, she continued to work at the restaurant for four years. She then went on to work at Operakällaren within the Royal Swedish Opera as a pastry chef for five years.
After vacationing in Mexico and a quick stop in Manhattan, Bengtsson knew she wanted to move to New York City. In 2010, at 29, she got her chance when then Aquavit executive chef Marcus Jernmark recruited her to join the team as pastry chef. Her interpretation of classic Scandinavian desserts quickly garnered critical acclaim with Aquavit winning a Michelin star. Bengtsson caught the attention of owner Håkan Swahn, who offered her the executive chef position in 2014 when Jernmark resigned. Although Bengtsson was initially hesitant and refused, she took her delicate approach to pastry and adapted it to savory dishes which led to the restaurant being awarded two Michelin stars the same year.
This award made her the first Swedish woman to hold two Michelin stars and only the second in the United States after Dominique Crenn.
In 2016, under Bengtsson’s culinary direction, Aquavit opened a second restaurant in London. At Aquavit, Bengtsson serves the kind of food she likes to eat. The fare is true to Scandinavia, offering light and bright dishes with a focus on fresh ingredients, seafood and traditional methods like pickling and preserving.   

About Heather McCaffrey:
Heather McCaffrey is an experienced pastry chef with a passion for creating unique fine dining experiences, currently at New York City’s Aquavit. Raised in Fredericksburg Virginia, Heather spent most of her childhood lost in books or exploring the woods barefoot. However, her greatest interest was always in the kitchen, where she would pore over recipe cards and cookbooks, honing her culinary skills. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 2018, Heather set her sights on New York City fine dining. She spent two years in the pastry program at Aureole before joining the team at Aquavit, where she was quickly promoted to pastry sous and then pastry chef. Heather is an avid gardener and is constantly looking for ways to incorporate vegetal flavors into her pastry creations while also being mindful of waste reduction. She is dedicated to expanding her knowledge and developing her cooks just as much as her dishes. 

About Keisia Urquhart:
Born and raised in Singapore, Keisia Urquhart spent a majority of her childhood helping out in the kitchen. This fostered a genuine curiosity and affinity for cooking and baking, which led to Keisia pursuing a baking and pastry diploma at Temasek Polytechnic. She graduated as Valedictorian of her class and received the Edusave skills award as recognition for her work. She then went on to do her internship at Les Amis Restaurant in Singapore. Having been fascinated by the wide array of produce and new cooking techniques she was exposed to Keisia decided to make the switch from pastry to savory. Knowing she would need a strong foundation to truly succeed, she enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America (Singapore) where she received her bachelor’s degree and graduated top of her class. Following her graduation, Keisia moved to New York City to work at Aquavit, with the intention to push her boundaries and to grow as a cook and a leader under chef Emma Bengtsson and her team’s tutelage.

Tickets to events held at Platform at Pier 57 by the James Beard Foundation cover the cost of food, education and a unique dining experience. Meals are prepared by culinary masters from all regions of the United States and around the world. Unless otherwise stated, alcoholic beverages are provided on a complimentary basis and are not included in the ticket price.

James Beard Foundation events permit guests age 21 years and older to attend events where alcoholic beverages are served.

Event Policy

Reservation Policy:

All reservations are non-refundable and must be made in advance. Should the event be cancelled due to any unforeseen circumstances, including COVID-19, JBF will offer a range of options, including ticket exchanges, the option to donate tickets, or a full refund. For more information, contact

Alcohol Disclaimer:

James Beard Foundation events permit guests age 21 years and older to attend events where alcoholic beverages are served. 

Dietary/Food Restrictions Policy:

Events at Platform by JBF are special one-night-only menus and we do not offer a la carte menus. If you have serious food allergies, we will work with the visiting chef team to do our best to accommodate but cannot guarantee that alternate options will be available for every course.

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