Author Archives: Jesper Wasling

Workshop 1 for students at ZBC, Denmark ( week 20)

I could see you all smiling

It was an early Monday morning. Students from four countries had met and should soon began the most intense week in their STUDIELIV. They had three day to complete a menu and TILLAGA it to invited guest. Moreover, this at the same time they would meet and get to know several other student and learn more about the modern sustainable restaurant. Could this be done?

The students from Borås, Jyväskylä and Kuressaare came to the BFZ School in Slagelse (Denmark). Since Slagelse are far away from most of the participant, the journey started already on Sunday. Some came by air but most by car and train.

Four dishes with beverage

During a week, they have to get to know each other, learn to work together and finally make four dishes for paying guest at a restaurant. The theme chosen for this event was locally sustainable, and the menus had to consist of one small starter, followed by fish, meet and a dessert.

The members of each group had met online to plan the week to plan and prepare. Originally they was supposed to use Microsoft-Teams, but as it turned out, there where digital alternatives.

  • We thought it would be better if we used WhatsApp instead, since we all have it in our phones. Much handier so we could send pictures and short messages.
  • It only took us a few days to have a menu we all liked, said team leader Magnus.

On spot, the teams started well. Just one group had some problems, since there team leader was back home, sick. But a mutual effort by the others, with some help from teachers, got them going.

The logistics

As a Noble prize dinner, the preparations began Three days before the big day. Everyone works according to a strict schedule both in the kitchen and in the dining room. Monday to Tuesday, the teams prepared the food and learned more about how one can work with sustainability in a restaurant.  

At Thursday, 1900 hours, the guests will be served. Before that, everything must be at place. Not just the food. Every table had to be decorated to enhance the theme.

Those responsible for the wait at table are also responsible for the table setting and the presentation of food and drink. Since they are in the focus of the guests, they want it to be as perfect as possible.


On Thursday, the clock slowly tick to seven. There is tension in the air. Everything has to be synchronized to perfection. Everyone wants this to be good, really good. At the same time are both students and teacher unfamiliar with the situation and English as common langue is an obstacle all has to overcome. Magnus is standing at one work station, preparing the fish. At another we find Angielyn who´s giving instructions to her crew. They are both team leaders with responsibility for the group.

Lucky for all, teacher Thomas Munkholm is there to guide. It isn´t that easy to do the job under pressure when you don´t even know where to find the whisk or the spice cabinet.

All around the room student are polishing glass and cutlery. No spots are allowed, all must be shiny and clean.

  • We want it to be nice for the guests when they come, said Suvi Hautanen.
  • Shall I cut here?

The student ask teacher Lillian what they should do with the ivy on the table. After some thoughts and nodding, she decides to cut it so lies on the table cloth with only some small branches outside. All is just perfect and together with the chestnut nuts the ivy branch creates harmony to the table.

The tables are set with thoughts, a bit different from what the student are used. The cutlery are placed on the side, but sideways and the glasses are not where they used to be. Maybe not the most practical setting of a table during lunch hour, but it looks very nice 

  • We want them to learn how to set a table in a modern way, exactly as the do at chef competitions around Europe nowadays, said Thomas.

The serving staff had another mission to. As responsible for the table and serving the food, they should also be able to present it to the guest. In detail. Explain where the food came from, how it is cooked and (almost) most important, why they have chosen the beer and wine to go with the food.

When all is over, Thomas sum up the week. He talks for a while but all could be compressed to two simple sentences:

  • Well done everyone, beautiful presentations all over.
  • ​​​​I could see you all smiling.

Workshop 2 for students at vuxenutbildningen Borås, Sweden ( week 39)

It´s sunday evening and a light rain falls over Borås when the guests from Estonia, Denmark and Finland arrived. They’ve come here, the teachers and students, to continue the journey to develop the sustainable kitchen within the project Green popup 4all.

– We all need to think about the footprint we leave on the earth, says project manager Pia Särkkä.

Borås is Sweden’s rainiest city, and it’s keept its promise. It was already raining when our visitors arrived on Sunday, and it continued for three days before the weather finally cleared up. But that didn’t stop us from a joint barbecue evening and some get-to-know-you activities.

However, the week would contain much more than charred sausages and hard-to-balance tennis balls. Considerably more time was spent on real cooking.

Cheese comes from milk

The local producer of primary products, as the farmer is called in our project, was the destination of Tuesday’s field trip. The participants had the opportunity to see how the Swedish cows lived and were milked. Like the farm Sörgården in Jällby.

Here, Linnea Hallén and Anna Johansson have approximately 100 cows. To manage the farm, they have the help of a robotic milking-machine that the cows go to, and a cleaning robot that keep the barn clean.

From the milk farm, it was a short journey to the dairy, where the cheese was produced. Gäsene dairy is a local producer owned by 24 local farms, all of which deliver their milk here. The dairy was founded as early as 1931 and over the years has steadily increased its production. Craftsmanship and well-thought-out storage together with a unique good bacterial culture create the cheese that has been awarded several times, most recently at the Cheese Festival 2022. 8 cheese makers and a few more are here to make the cheese. The cheese they produce is then sold in shops, most within a 25-mile radius of Gäsene.

– I think many people will be a little surprised when they notice what storage does to the taste, says Marcus Jansson, CEO of Gäsene Mejeri.

Autumn was the theme

With the insight into how the local ingredients were grown and created, it was time to move on to the menu. The theme was autumn and to complicate the whole thing a bit more, the students were required to make menus that must contain the autumnal ingredients like root vegetables and apples as well as dairy products (from Gäsene and Kråkarp’s dairies) and pork.

– They have received four ingredients that are local, partly cheese from Gäsene dairy, partly grilled cheese from Kråkarp’s dairy, carré, root vegetables and apples. Then they also get to practice communicating and exchanging ideas about green and sustainable food, says Anki Holst.

The students were well prepared. The four groups, but one participant from each country, had already previously met online to prepare the menus. Once in place, it remained to try to create them according to the ideas they came up with. Much was simple, but how do you create smoked cheese net if you don’t have a smokehouse? The last was something that a group spent a lot of time on and finally succeeded with good results.

The evaluation makes us better

We also learned about what we can improve on.

Before the workshop students and teachers met online. Personal meeting is more important than we want to admit. But is import for all participants to develop digital skills based on the project plan. But we agreed on one thing, and that was that it would make it easier if you talked about one thing at each meeting. Sustainability one time, the business idea the other and so on. Then it will be easier for everyone to follow along. For the students who rarely traveled so much, they also wanted at least a few hours of opportunity to see the city they visited. To once in a lifetime be able to come to Slagelse or Borås and sometime in five days have time to stroll around the center was a wish that they send with them to the next city.

Now we pass the baton to Estonia, where the next pop-up will take place.