SHARE
COPY LINK

FOOD & DRINK

Danish startup wants to raise food waste awareness… by feeding local community

A recently expanded non-profit in the town of Horsens says that it is working with businesses and the local municipality to fight against food waste.

Danish startup wants to raise food waste awareness… by feeding local community
Photo: Det Visionære Køkken

The Visionary Kitchen (Det Visionære Køkken) was started in 2014 by international students in the central Jutland town who were tired of seeing wasted food. Now the organisation holds weekly events and has gone into collaboration with Horsens Municipality.

The long-term aim of the project is to change people’s approaches to the food they waste, says organiser Adrian Cociug.

“We are trying to expand a little bit now and make ourselves and our concept more relevant to people, so that they are more aware of the food they are wasting. We want people to be more conscious of this generally, even though we are only in Horsens,” Cociug said.

The organisation currently operates by making agreements with local businesses like supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants to collect food that they are unable to use. This food is then used at a weekly communal dining event, so that it is continually used and as little as possible ends up being thrown out.

“We have an event every Thursday, maybe with occasional breaks in the summer. We are thirty volunteers in all who take it in turns to help out, and each week at the meals we feed twelve people – students or older people from the local community, whoever wants to come,” said Cociug.

The organisation has also begun collaborating with Horsens Municipality, which now invites the Visionary Kitchen to take part in its own events, whilst making occasional visits to the weekly dinners to see how things are going.

Hundreds of tons of products have been saved feeding thousands of people since the project’s inception, says the organisation.

Recycling expired food is not a new concept in Denmark. In February 2016, the country’s first surplus food supermarket, WeFood, opened in Copenhagen. The store proved so popular that a second branch was opened in November last year.

“It's ridiculous that food is just thrown out or goes to waste. It is bad for the environment and it is money spent on absolutely nothing. A supermarket like WeFood makes so much sense and is an important step in the battle to combat food waste,” MP Eva Kjer Hansen, then-minister for food and the environment, said at the opening of the store in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood.

For The Visionary Kitchen, the business model is secondary to the expanding the concept of cutting down on food waste, says Cociug.

The startup is, though, planning to raise some funds to make its events a more attractive proposition.

“We want to buy a second-hand piano, to make our place more pleasant. We have a lot of volunteers and participants in diners who play very well,” he said.

FOOD & DRINK

Nordic chef sets up world’s northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

You can only get there by boat or helicopter, but Michelin-starred chef Poul Andrias Ziska hopes his restaurant in remote Greenland, far above the Arctic Circle, is worth the journey.

Nordic chef sets up world's northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

The 30-year-old chef relocated his restaurant KOKS from the Faroe Islands in mid-June, leaving behind his relatively accessible address for Ilimanaq, a
hamlet of 50 inhabitants hidden behind icebergs on the 69th parallel north.

Housed in a narrow black wooden house, one of the oldest in Greenland, the restaurant can only accommodate about 20 people per service, and experiments with local produce, including whale and seaweed, with fresh produce almost impossible to find in the harsh climate.

“We try to focus on as much Greenlandic products as possible, so everything from Greenland halibut to snow crabs to musk ox to Ptarmigan, different herbs and different berries,” the tousled-haired, bearded chef tells AFP.

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

The young chef previously ran KOKS at home in the remote Faroe Islands, where he won his first star in 2017, his second in 2019, and the title of the
world’s most isolated Michelin restaurant. 

He plans to return there for a permanent installation, but explains he had always wanted to stretch his gastronomical legs in another territory in the
far north, like Iceland, Greenland or even Svalbard.

He finally chose Ilimanaq, located an hour’s boat trip from Ilulissat, the third-largest town in Greenland and famous for its huge glacier.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is an autonomous Danish dependent territory.

Local products

“We just found it more suitable, more fun to do something completely different before we move back in our permanent restaurant,” he tells AFP from
his kitchen, set up in a trailer outside the house with the dining area.

With 20 courses, the extensive tasting menu will delight the taste buds for some 2,100 kroner ($280), excluding wine and drinks.

“The menu is exquisite and sends you to the far north and back,” Devid Gualandris, a charmed visitor, tells AFP.

“From the whale bites to the wines, from the freshly caught fish and shellfish to the curated desserts, everything is bursting with flavour.”

While whale meat is a staple food in Greenland and Ziska’s native Faroe Islands, whaling is banned in most of the world and activists have called for
an end to the practice.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

An unlikely locale for a gourmet restaurant, Ilimanaq — Greenlandic for “place of hope” — is home to a small community living in picturesque wooden
houses, next to hiking trails and more fittingly a luxury hotel, making it an ideal stopover for wealthy tourists seeking to explore new frontiers.

For Ziska, the customers in Greenland are different.

“There are a lot of people for which the number one priority is to visit Greenland and then they come to our restaurant,” he says.

“In the Faroe Islands we had mainly people interested in coming and eating at our restaurant and then obviously also visiting the Faroe Islands,” the
chef explains.

In addition to the adventurers who have already been lured by the Arctic landscape, the Greenlandic Tourist Board hopes the restaurant will also help
attract gourmet travellers.   

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022.

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

“The unique combination of high-level gastronomy, the inherent sustainability of the North Atlantic cuisine and the characteristic nature and resources of the Disko Bay, speaks to all our senses,” Visit Greenland’s director, Hjortur Smarason, said when announcing the arrival of KOKS.

Accommodation at the Ilimanaq Lodge, the current home of the KOKS restaurant in Ilimanaq, Greenland, where guests can watch whales and floating icebergs in the Disko Bay. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

A long-overlooked destination, Greenland — an Arctic island territory nine times the size of the UK — welcomed more than 100,000 tourists in 2019, nearly double its population, before Covid cut the momentum.

Smarason said the presence of KOKS “is exactly what we strive for in our effort to reach a certain distinguished kind of guests”.  The restaurant is open between the 12th June and 8th September, 2022 and 2023. 

SHOW COMMENTS