Chef Paul Svensson, who’s teaching on the course, is a ‘connector’ between the course and potential partners.
The best ideas will be developed as product and service prototypes with help from Örebro County and other local food system actors.
For course leader Annika Göran Rodell, a priority is to develop new collaborations between academia, municipality and business. She is optimistic that the best student proposals can generate new livelihoods or be developed into new companies.
The course prepares Orebro County for the near the future – but it also takes inspiration from the past.
Students explore what was grown or eaten 250 years ago – and how – and come up with new ways to grow, prepare and serve forgotten staple foods.
Mathias Lindberg, a local entrepreneur, has prepared the ground by “looking in the rear view mirror. What did it look like here 250 years ago? We see a plate that was rich in fish, poultry and vegetables from the municipality”.
In this way, inspired by how people lived the end of the 18th century, students are enabled to compare that time with today’s conditions. Students work on the gastronomic potential of unfamiliar or disliked foods – many of which used to be staples in local diets.
More recent history can also be an inspiration.
In the early twentieth century, the area around Hällefors was a mining region. As one local historian told this writer “back then, everyone grew”.
On a pilot of the course last year in Grythyttan, students came up with new ways to cook roach fish. Roach is a delicacy in other countries, but has fallen out of favour in Sweden.
Students did not only develop new ways to serve roach. They also used the meal to celebrate the ecological restoration of the region’s lakes.
Peas, too, were a staple crop for millenia before the global food system arrived. Making these staple crops delicious is an important contribution to food resilience.
Dr Magnus Westling, a noted expert on the history and potential future of the pea
is working with the founder of a food lab, designer Corina Akner, on hummous made with yellow peas.
“Wine people pay close attention to the ’terroir’ where a grape is grown” says Westling, “The influence of climate, landscape, soil, and geology on how a wine finally tastes.
We are developing a similar appreciation for cereals, or peas – and the new course is part of that innovation”.
“Working with food is a life-giving process. By training as chefs and sommeliers, our students play an active role in ecological restoration”.