Nordic Food Lab is a non-profit, open-source organisation that investigates food diversity and deliciousness. Established in 2008, we combine scientific and humanistic approaches with culinary techniques from around the world to explore the edible potential of the Nordic region – the flavours that say something about us and imbue the foods we eat with a connection to this place and this time. We work to broaden our taste, generating and adapting practical ideas and methods for those who make food and those who enjoy eating.
Diversity is our starting point and our goal. It forms a loop of feedback mediated by ecology, necessity, and appetite. There is no single food that can nourish us on its own. The pursuit of good food is in itself also the pursuit of biocultural diversity, the pursuit of a future where everyone can not only eat but eat well. Diversity – of autochthonous genetic material, of organisms, of cultural practices, of ideas – is what keeps our world at its most resilient and robust. It is the cloth that weaves our fates together and upon which we share our meals.
Yet infinite choice can be paralysing. By acknowledging geography as the foundation of gastronomy we give ourselves limitation, a constraint through which we gain freedom to experiment and play. Exploration of our edible surroundings offers a possibility to create foods that speak truly of their birthplace and their future.
By taking inspiration from humanities, sciences and arts, we undertake work which other research facilities, rooted in one side of the arbitrary science/craft divide, might not attempt. For example, often those working directly with complex foods at an artisanal level understand little of the biochemistry, and those who study them at a biochemical level have little applied knowledge of gastronomy. We seek to put these approaches and their experts in dialogue, using modern and traditional methods to combine craft and science for delicious results. We share our work with home cooks, chefs and industry to offer a multi-tiered contribution to the threads of the Nordic culinary fabric.
Our research is open source. We collaborate with other projects locally and internationally.
Our work is supported by independent foundations, private businesses, and government sources.