Hans Fahlén: Food, fun, family… and travel

Perhaps one of Sweden’s most-traveled TV personalities, Hans Fahlén is back with a new show featuring plenty of adventure and more than enough food to go around.

I’m from Åre in northern Sweden and grew up at the same time Åre grew up. It was a great place for a kid and I try to give my son that sort of environment.

We traveled by VW bus when I was a kid, with Italy usually our goal. We were in Prague just before the Russians invaded.

My first plane trip was when I was 14. I went on a language exchange program to England, which was basically a booze trip.

When I was 16 I lived in Sri Lanka for a year with my father. The first couple of weeks were culture shock but then I fell in love with it.

I was part of the World Cup Mogul Team for five years. When I crashed in Norway and broke my neck, there were rumors I was paralyzed and would never race again. I raced for one more season, stopping when I was 23.

I take one day at a time. My philosophy is that one thing leads to another, which usually works out for me.

TV Åre was my first TV gig. It was a small cable channel for tourists. I had no idea what I was doing but had a lot of crazy ideas. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot. It was the perfect place to start my career.

I realized I wanted to make movies, so I moved to Stockholm to work in production companies. I learned from the ground up.

Filming dolphins in the Bahamas, and being rewarded with a kiss.

Filming dolphins in the Bahamas, and being rewarded with a kiss.

Even though I didn’t like school, I did a scriptwriting course at Bergh’s School of Communication. SVT and the Swedish Film Institute liked my final exam work so they hired me and my friends to write scripts. I thought I was a hotshot comedy writer but nothing got produced. My friends are still successful screenwriters.

In 1995, I was a field producer/cameraman for a TV 4 travel show, När och fjärran. The producer wanted me to host, but TV 4 said no. One year later, they realized they had to put me in front of the camera because I was talking all the time.

I’ve never minded making a fool of myself.

I did När och fjärran for ten years, visiting around 200 destinations. I loved the skiing shows but Antarctica was probably the most amazing. Getting up close to the animals was incredible – plus I got bragging rights as not a lot of people have been there!

I’ve visited headhunters in Borneo and been diving in the Red Sea.

Hans with his great love, Leon.

Hans with his great love, Leon.

I’m a very proud father to my 11-year-old son. Having him was a real turning point in my life.

I first had the idea for my new show, Fahléns Matäventyr, 13 years ago, when I was having lunch with Peter Norman. He’s the chef on the show and has a real passion for food. This makes working with him exciting – I’m not a cook, I’m an eater.

Cameraman Tony in the Andes.

Cameraman Tony in the Andes.

Food is one of the things that bring us to destinations. Peter shows the viewer how to make the food. We do two and a half dishes – two big ones and one smaller one. We also let people know all the great things they can do at a particular destination.We’re doing six shows, visiting Hong Kong and Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and Turkey. We don’t go into starred restaurants. Instead, we go to night food markets or into someone’s home and cook in their kitchen. The show is not stiff at all – it’s a lot of fun.

When you go outside western culture, you find people who are so close to laughter, as long as their basic needs are met. Madagascar in particular is like this. They laugh more in one day more than we laugh in a month.

I don’t chase places or have a bucket list but I will always travel to where there is two meters of powder. Everyone talks about it, but it’s harder to find than you think.

Hans Fahlén

Age: 51
Hometown: Åre
Family: One son, two brothers, father
Lives: Sollentuna, outside of Stockholm
Career: Former skier, bartender, heli-skiing tour guide, TV host and producer. Shows include När och fjärran, Spårlöst, Farmen, Fångarna på fortet and ID. His new show, Fahléns Matäventyr, premiered on Sweden’s TV 4 in September.

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