Workshop for students 6 in Jyväskylä ( week 39) Into the land of a thousand Lakes

With our joint pop-up in Jyväskylä, our two-year project to explore new paths in the future of the restaurant industry comes to an end. Two years of learning where entrepreneurship and sustainability have been at the forefront.

We arrived in Jyväskylä shortly after autumn had reached the city, and we were welcomed by a landscape in yellow and red. Our business trip to this picturesque town was not just a journey to a conference; it was a journey to culinary excellence.

With the goal of shaping the future of culinary education, we embraced the flavors of the Finnish cuisine. In the forests and fields surrounding us, we found many of the ingredients that the students would later use during the week.

Head Chef Helmut Rauaiaho set the tone when he, in his presentation, demonstrated the vital role of both the chef and the server. Through their knowledge, they create flavors that delight both the eyes and the palate, offering guests a great start to the day.

In addition to this presentation, we also conducted some field visits and lectures that showcased how the local business community has embraced environmental change. Here, we’re thinking of hotel Alba and the farm Järki Särki.

Hotel Alba

Alba is a hotel that has been Green Key certified for several years. Green Key is a certification for a more sustainable hospitality industry. Green Key demands that its participants meet certain criteria but also continuously develop their environmental efforts each year, making it an ongoing process. Sustainability manager Susanna Mekälä conducted the presentation on the hotel’s efforts to create a more environmentally friendly accommodation. Besides food, energy conservation in the form of water and electricity conservation is a challenge, as it requires a change in the guest’s mindset.

  • Our guests are a bit different here than they are at home, and I think that applies to me as well, says Susanna Mekälä.

When it comes to food, it can be managed in a different way. The most important aspect right now is to minimize food waste. Everything on the buffet is carefully chose, and what can be reused is repurposed so that leftovers from a breakfast buffet can be used in the lunch menu.

Nudging is also used, such as having slightly smaller plates, so that each guest takes a little less.

  • It’s better for them to go back for more and finish their food than to take too much and throw it away, says Susanna Mekälä.

Järki Särki

When the couple Marja Komppa and Ari Seppälä completed their studies they wondered what the next step would be. In their case, it unexpectedly led them to a farm in the middle of Finland; a typical Finnish farm with 10 hectares of arable land and 30 hectares of forest. After experimenting with everything from sheep to turkeys, they eventually found their way into beekeeping, which they have now developed into the largest producer in Finland, possibly in the whole of Scandinavia. Their honey is available at all major grocery stores and is an integral part of Finnish cuisine.

The natural surroundings, with all its lakes, set limits on beekeeping because the water complicates life for the flowers. It is just everywhere, the water. However, in the water, the couple rediscovered an old treasure – the roach. This forgotten and almost despised little fish with its many bones has a flavor worth preserving. Over a few years, they have developed their roach product, which serves as both a topping and a base for spreads. Their next step is to create a Finnish-Thai flavored fish sauce for the increasingly popular Thai cuisine.

The cooking

This was the fourth time the teachers and students gathered to create a pop-up restaurant. The theme this time was brunch, with a mysterious Mystery box as an added bonus. Fish was the foundation, but there was a vegetarian option available.

As in previous instances, the students had prepared in groups for the week’s work, but the main work took place in the kitchen and the classroom. Menus were designed, and the food was prepared, and on Thursday, it was served with great joy to the guests.

But what did the students think of the process itself? Did the concept work? Yes, when it came to the menu and beverages. there were no problems. Each team came up with different solutions based on the available ingredients, and the groups did not find it challenging. Even the processed roach could easily be turned into a tasty and nutritious appetizer.

Because some students in teams are beginners and some are more advanced, it was great to realise how enthusiastic they all were. The result was ” We did our best”

  • Teachers’ role in GreenPopUp4All – project is to falicilitate students to run the PopUp restaurant. It is important to trust the students, as Kristina, one of the student says. The group members in each team were supportive, making the work easier for all.

The used method – the Mystery box – was a pedagogical option , giving a possibility to brainstorm business idea, dishes and beverages all together face to face. The method made the discussion and interaction possible for all members.

Once brunch was served for the customers it was more than rewarding to come together like this across boundaries.

The week naturally concluded with a traditional Finnish sauna and swam in the nearby lake.

Workshop for students 5 in Kuressaare ( week 17)

One year in the project, it was time for the third meeting with teachers and students at Kuressaare Ametikool (RTC). We followed the procedure with cooking, visits at local producers and staff meeting.

The home of the spa

Saaremaa/Ösel is the one of the most popular tourist resorts in Estonia; specialized on spa. Therefore was it only natural that the party were accommodated in a spa hotel. There are 15 of them in Kurassare and surroundings so the local school has both education for chefs and masseur as well as hairdressers and other jobs within the service sector.

After Ave Paaskivi introduced the school, presented the week’s agenda, and had everyone introduce themselves, Mare Nooda took the floor to deliver a lecture on the importance of daring to try, which happened to be the theme of the entire week. Mares story emphasized the need to seize opportunities. What initially seemed unprofitable could become valuable when combined with other products and activities. For instance, she shared her own experience with bread baking. Initially, her bread took too long to bake and sell, but when she started producing cheese and clothing as well, she found the base for hosting themed parties for larger groups.

Throughout the week, the group made three study visits, each highlighting the types of products that the future hospitality industry should focus on. During these visits, the students also learned about existing challenges and the need for a fresh perspective to discover new profitable business approaches. A new world demands new ideas through new perspectives.

Buckwheat, fish and windmills

The first visit was to Karmeli, where Aivar and Karel demonstrated the manufacturing process of buckwheat and hemp oil. The facility they were operating in was built during the Soviet era. It had been abandoned for some years until Aivar and Karel started renovating it and developing their business in the 2010s. They decided to invest in buckwheat, a traditional crop in the Baltic region and Russia. Their primary product was yellow buckwheat, which had more versatile uses than the brown variety. The byellow buckwheat are living seeds that can be transformed into flour, oil, and heating pads. Brown buckwheat, on the other hand, was mainly used for porridge and was therefore less profitable.

The second visit took the students to the Pähkla fish farm, where Remy Kolberg provided a tour and offered taste samples. Pähkla had invested in the cultivation of crayfish and trout. The presence of abundant fresh water near the fish farm made it an ideal location for their farm. The major advantage of fish farms is that they don’t impact the natural stock in the oceans. However, they had to carefully control and purify the outflow of water to prevent the spread of diseases and contamination.

The third and final study visit was to The Windmill, where Kaupo Pastak explained how local ingredients not only created a unique product but also contributed to storytelling. By combining these two aspects, The Windmill added value to its products, enhancing their worth and making them competitive against globally mass-produced goods.

When the big day finally arrived…

After a few online meetings and a meeting at the school where menus and table settings were planned, it was time to enter the kitchen on Wednesday. The food needed to be prepared, and ideas had to be tested. It turned out that most things worked well, and the panic leading up to Thursday disappeared.

When the big day arrived, there was a lot of work in the kitchen. The teams worked in harmony with the teachers as coach. Because it was so smooth, the food was on the table on time and as it was supposed to be served.

Theory becomes curriculum

In the kitchen, the ideas that formed the basis of the project were tested. The participants refined their experiences through collaboration. Good ideas were saved, while those that didn’t work were noted and set aside. What remained formed the foundation for the new manual on sustainable cooking and teaching that the project was developing.

It is still a long way until we have a curriculum, but we are much closer now than we were a few days ago. It is clear that one must have meet both online and in person.  

Difficulties along the way

As the project proceeds, we notice that the language barrier is difficult to cross. It takes several days before everyone is comfortable enough to start talking, ask questions and active participate in a conversation. And even then, it is with some struggle.

Workshop 4 for teachers at Kuressaare Ametikool, Estonia (week 50)

A few days before the arrival of the guests, the winter fair took over the island. A strong wind swirled the knotted electric wires and generously sowed snow on storm-ravaged trees. We, as the hosts, were seriously afraid if the meeting would take place at all, because the connection with the mainland can be break under such circumstances.

In order to avoid a situation where teachers from Denmark, Sweden and Finland have to stay overnight at the port, it was decided to stay in Tallinn for the night and come to Saaremaa on Tuesday morning.

The weather was promising in the morning and we believed that the bigger concern was broken with it, but it turned out that our planned company visit to Pähkla Crayfish and  Fish Farm could  not take place, because the roads had become inaccessible and half of Saaremaa was without electricity.

Nevertheless, the joy of the reunions was great, and we managed to reorganise the agenda so that it would still be as useful as possible.

The theme of the Saaremaa meeting was Sustainable Gastroturism. Thus, we started by visiting the Saaremaa Genuine brand store. “Saaremaa Genuine Product” is a label that refers to the regional origin of a product or service – the product or service has been produced in the clean nature environment of Saaremaa and Muhumaa, with the work and experience of local people.
This blue area label has been used by entrepreneurs since the end of 2012 and helps the consumer to recognize the products made in Saaremaa municipality.

The “Saaremaa Genuine Product” badge is a sign of a person-centred way of thinking. The sign does not just talk about what Saaremaa is like, but what a guest, fan or buyer gets. Read more: https://ehtne

After that we had lunch prepared by our students and teachers in school restaurant, where we can offer food which is made of mostly local ingrediants.

On the second half of the first day we had company visit and lecture by Kaupo Pastak who introduced to us the story of Veski windmill, one of the most beloved restaurants in Kuressaare. Itś operating since 1974 and nowadays itś not just restaurant, but it giving you an idea of Estonian national food, culture and heritage.

The co-owner of the mill, Kaupo, produces his own drinks.  Saaremaa Veski’s house spirits are made from berries picked by the island’s grannies. The selection includes nice island flavors: rhubarb, sea buckthorn, lingonberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, rasberry, strawberry, cherry and chokeberry. They also advertise them as
the very tasteful, healing, depression-lowering  gift idea for treating fashionable diseases.

Kaupo gave as short history lesson of Veski windmill, the story how the place have been grown, how more and more additional services are on their tabel. Talked about gastronomy and passion. The lecture ended with degustation with very detailed description of how the raw material gathered and how the tastes and colours develop within the time.

Read more:

The first day ended with lunch at Grand Rose restaurant , which is recommended by White Guide Nordic 2022 as well. Chef has prepared menu that offered a choice of dishes which describe Estonian and island specialties.

By the end of day it was clear that this team can´t be beaten by weather 😊

Next day started early and itś keyword was: blended learning module. Teachers from 4 countries discussed and developed the learning module and itś content for next piloting session. Kuressaare team presented the draft of week 17 POPUP event.
In the afternoon we had hands on workshop on sustainable gastronomy. Teachers were working on mixed teams on common task, using local products for cooking traditional meals in modern key.

The third day was devided in several parts. For starter we had interesting and inspiring lecture from Mare Kallas about small entrepreneurship, gastronomy, preserving heritage, collecting memories, sewing the fairy cloaks, ect. The lecturer is also the author of cooking book „Laimjala maitsed“ (The tastes of Laimjala) where the traditional meals and stories from old time are preserved.


The main course for Thursday was Teacher Manual and Moodle course. Work was going in several teams and by the end of the day we were happy to say that the progress was made.

Kuressaare Ametikool has been working for almost 3 years on Interreg IVa project Educating Professionals on Islands in GastroTourism to develop the gastrotourism curriculum with Alands Yrkesgymnasium. Now itś ready!

The main reasons for developing a curriculum for gastronomical tourism is the lack of good image and lack of work force and challenges in the sector. The tourism season is short and the staff in work need further educating, they are quite often not educated for a job within tourism and gastronomy, but they have microbusinesses or SME:s and therefore no possibilities to take on full time studies. This curriculum will help these adults get professional training in a flexibel way. The curriculum will be implemented in both adult and youth studies, and it can be both mandatory or voluntary. The curriculum is very flexibel and useful. For adults the curriculum can be arranged during evenings and weekends if needed.
Get aquinted:

And then the time for final dinner and fairwell approached. The feeling was good and we felt so much more ready and motivated again! See you in Kuressaare again, in week 17. Hopefully not so snowy island any more 😀

Workshop 3 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.

Workshop 2 for students at ZBC, Denmark (week 20)

During week 20 2022 ZBC Slagelse hosted the first circle of the one-week pop-up event.
Students from Estonia, Finland, Sweden & Denmark who had already met online using Sustainability and Entrepreneurship in Catering Module. Now students gathered in their mixed groups and continued their work with development of sustainable & innovative pop up concepts, using their knowledge from online lessons before the meeting in Slagelse.

A lot of things had to be done before the invited guests were coming for the event on Thursday evening.

Students learned about sustainability & gained entrepreneurial skills in an international environment. Claus Meyer inspired our students to work as entrepreneurs, students brainstorming business ideas, creating a pop-up restaurant concept & planning a four-course menu from local produce.

4 fantastic restaurant concepts and different meals were cooked, presented and served to customers inside and outside of ZBC and judges from restaurant Mota, Danish Seaweed, Vores Magasin and National Center for Local Food evaluated the work carried out.

All groups did very well, but also, we learned in the project how to improve the next circle.

Workshop 2 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 1 for teachers at ZBC, Denmark (week 14)

In week 14 2022 ZBC Slagelse kick started the project work by facilitating a sustainability ambassadors’ workshop for teachers and project managers from GRADIA, Finland, Borås, Sweden & Kuressaare, Estonia in the KA2 project “GreenPopUp4All”.

Sustainability consultant Martin Spuur Nielsen presented how ZBC works with sustainability as a Sustainable Development Goals School, including how to encourage and involve students and staff working with it.

As a hands-on event, the staff visited Danish Seaweed and went on a seaweed safari.
Lunch at Restaurant Mota, that focusses on high quality food based on local ingredients, e.g. the use of seaweed and herbs. The restaurant concept is simple, modern and experimental. 
Also, the Danish students cooked for the staff and presented what they learned in relations to sustainability.

At the end of the week the staff continued the work on developing online learning modules for students – focused on sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship – in order to prepare them for a mobility at ZBC in week 20, where they will work together in mixed groups and execute sustainable and innovative pop up restaurants.