Supply of skills

Chef couple from Peru and Portugal found their home in Skellefteå

Chefs Lizandro Quevedo and Maria Neves had long considered leaving Gothenburg for a smaller city. And when Lizandro saw that Skellefteå municipality was looking for chefs at the end of 2021, things happened quickly. He sent in an application, got a call the next day and then both he and Maria were offered jobs in Skellefteå municipality's kitchen.

- "It was a jackpot for everyone," says Lizandro.

Lizandro is originally from Lima, the capital of Peru. In 2006 he moved to Sweden and since then he has worked in the restaurant industry. In 2010 he met Maria when she was visiting her cousin in Gothenburg.

- "Her cousin is married to my former colleague and when Maria came to visit, he asked if I wanted to come along. And so it is," says Lizandro.

Maria, who comes from a village near Porto in Portugal, moved to Lizandro in Gothenburg and got a job at the same restaurant as him.

Taking the opportunity to move north

In 2017 they became parents to daughter Leonor and in 2020 their son Vicente was born. Family life made Lizandro and Maria rethink their living situation and plans to move to a smaller city grew stronger and stronger.

- "We thought about the children and wanted them to have a safe and good future," says Lizandro.

In 2006, he had joined a friend on a road trip along the Norrland coast and got a very positive picture of northern Sweden.

- "It was a cool trip by car, where we passed Örnsköldsvik, Umeå and Skellefteå on our way to the cottage that the friend's grandmother had in Boden. I thought: "Norrland is great, I should move here at some point in my life", says Lizandro.

In December 2021, the opportunity arose when he saw a Facebook ad that Skellefteå municipality was looking for chefs. He and Maria decided to apply for the positions and Lizandro sent off his application first.

- "I didn't think they would get in touch, as we live so far away. But Daniel Hällgren, head of the Meal Unit, called the very next day, which I wasn't prepared for. Daniel asked a lot of questions and when I told him that Maria also works as a chef, he wanted to talk to her too. We were both offered jobs, it was like winning the lottery," says Lizandro, laughing.

Working in different locations

He and Maria are increased basic staff at the meal unit, which means they work in several different kitchens. Maria is based at Aromköket at Skellefteå Hospital and Lizandro at Anderstorpsgymnasiet's school restaurant.

- "It's a great bunch of people who work at Anderstorp and it has been easy to get into all the workplaces. I saw it as a good challenge to work in several different places. I get to meet new people and work in different environments. I'm really enjoying it right now," says Lizandro.

For Maria, it was an adjustment to go from the restaurant in Gothenburg, with six employees in the kitchen, to Aromköket, where 36 people work.

- "It was a big challenge, but I have had a positive experience. We make food for both restaurants and elderly care and I have been involved in the planning of the menus. My colleagues are kind and helpful and I have met many new people," says Maria.

"Easy to get into society"

When it was clear that they had a job in Skellefteå, they found an apartment in Skelleftehamn. Lizandro moved north in March to renovate it and in April the family moved into the three-bedroom apartment.

- "Skellefteå is super nice and we have fantastic access to leisure activities. We are close to nature where we can fish and canoe. And I have longed for a real winter so that I can learn to ski," says Lizandro and continues:

- "We are proud of our children who have adapted well after the move and especially our daughter who has been strong and brave in stepping out of her safe zone in Gothenburg." But it has been easier for us to get into society here compared to Gothenburg. We have met more people during our six months in Skellefteå than we did in ten years in Gothenburg. Of course, we miss our relatives and friends there, but when they ask if I regret it, I usually say that the only thing I regret is that we didn't move to Skellefteå earlier.


Senast uppdaterad:
16 October 2023