Nordic Food Lab is a self-governing organization run on a not-for-profit basis. Established in 2008, we work to investigate deliciousness and its systems. We explore the raw materials of our region, the flavours that say something about us and imbue the foods we eat with a connection to this place and this time.
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 robust, able to perpetuate itself indefinitely. Diversity 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, constraints through which we gain freedom. 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 reconcile these approaches, using modern and traditional methods to combine craft and science for delicious results. We share our work with home cooks, chefs and industry to have a multi-tiered effect on the threads of the Nordic culinary fabric.
There is a childlike joy in experimentation as we try to learn about our culinary surroundings through exploration and play. At the same time we are modern-day alchemists, drawing from philosophy, technology and mythology, striving to reach some hypothetical, and possibly unattainable level of delicious excellence. We are evolving as part of a new ‘Age of Discovery’; we are thinking people, guided by taste: we are Homo saporens.
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.