Grandpa Family is our way to highlight creative, interesting and ambitious people in our vicinity. This time we met up with David and Luise of Green Kitchen Stories. Over the years they’ve been cultivating their passion for vegetarian food into a business - they’ve made books, an app, and a popular YouTube channel. They’re currently working on releasing their latest book: Little Green Kitchen, a cookbook for families with children! See the video, the photos, and read the full interview below!
Ok, so this all started when you - David - decided to move to Rome and realize your childhood dream of becoming an Italian. Today you both are world renowned for your cooking. Tell us about what transpired since your days in Rome.
That’s right, we met in Italy. I’m Swedish and Luise is Danish. We had two very different approaches to food; I was a pretty unhealthy vegetarian and Luise had a very conscious and healthy approach but had never met a vegetarian before. After a year of pulling in opposite directions in the kitchen, we agreed to focus on what we both enjoyed cooking. This was at the time when blogs were the next big thing, so we started Green Kitchen Stories to document our journey. We ran the blog in the evening and worked full time with our day jobs. Over time it grew and slowly turned into a full-time job in itself, with books, apps, youtube and consulting.
What’s the best part about having a family business?
It’s that we get to experience so much together. When we won a prize for the best food blog in the American Food & Wine Magazine we all got to fly to Las Vegas for the award show. We spent three months traveling Australia and New Zealand with the kids, having cooking workshops together in the different cities we stopped in - sometimes with our youngest in a harness whilst cooking! We also get to follow our own compass to a large degree. The company has grown organically and we’ve been learning a lot.
What are some of the challenges?
Seeing as we work with food, it’s very hard to keep work and family life separated. Our dinners often turn into cooking trials and we tend to talk about cooking techniques instead of family matters. Luckily our kids are happy to help us tune out of it by being as lovingly obnoxious and loud as only kids can be. :)
What would make up a dream assignment?
One example is when we’ve been working with Visit Sweden and traveled around Sweden, making short films cooking with interesting people. Basically, all assignments that entail working creatively with both veggies and talented people are our dream assignments.
Any hands-on advice for those who consider giving up their day jobs and starting a business of their own?
Start working your idea on your spare time first. Spend your evenings and weekends getting your feet wet, testing the market. That way you won’t have the pressure of making a living out of it right away, and can hopefully run the business out of passion rather than necessity.
You’ve published five cookbooks in 15 countries so far. Tell us a bit more about your latest book ”Little Green Kitchen”.
This book was a natural progression for us, as our kids affect our way of eating A LOT right now. We have the same stress as any other family with kids. Many families struggle with getting their kids to eat veggies, and that’s where we want to help. The book doesn’t contain classic kid’s meals since neither we nor anyone else really wants to make separate dishes for themselves and for the kids. The focus, therefore, is more on recipes that the whole family can enjoy. The recipes have ’upgrades’, such as spicy sauces or poached eggs, to make them more interesting for the adults. We’ve also added ideas on how the kids can help out in the kitchen.
What’s your best advice around kids and food?
Try and keep dinner time a cheerful event. We’re not so strict when it comes to rules. If they want to drink the soup with a straw whilst sitting under the table, that’s perfectly fine. It’s more important that they learn to enjoy new food, tableside manners can come later.
Regarding veggies, we recommend trying different cooking techniques. If they don’t like cooked or fried veggies, try roasting them in the oven. Our kids love oven roasted hari coverts and broccoli. And remember that their taste buds are developing all the time - and so are their likes and dislikes.
So don’t give up! If the kids get to choose, they’d go jumping in the snow in their undies, never brush their teeth and only have ice cream for dinner. It’s our place as parents to guide, explain and inspire them to make healthy choices.
You’ve got a great Stockholm guide on your website with your favorite restaurants, stores, etc. Could you recommend to us the best places for a picnic in Stockholm, and which three picnic recipes would you suggest bringing?
Thank you! We wrote the guide several years ago, and have been trying to keep it current by adding new favorites each year. For a picnic, Rosendals Trädgård is a cozy classic. If you haven’t brought anything with you, you can buy there and eat under the apple trees in their garden. Then there’s Vitabergsparken and Tantolunden, both of which are great spots for the summer. There are playgrounds and places for swimming.
Here are three great picnic meals:
How about focaccia made with potatoes and fresh herbs with some asparagus over? Or a potato salad with celery and apples for crunch? Or maybe our summer wraps with green hummus, lentils, and fresh strawberries
What are your three favorite Instagram accounts?
The American food magazine @bonappetitmag does social media better than anyone. They’ve got fun stories and seem to have a lot of colorful personalities at the office. @shisodeliciousmake the most adorable Bento boxes and animated gifs. And lastly @fafelle, which is the new falafelkoncept that me (David) has founded together with a bunch of interesting people, one being Joel Åhlin from Agrikultur. We’re starting up our first restaurant in Täby Centrum this may and have more on the roadmap. Good food and nice pictures! ;)
Name the three best travel destinations for a food lover interested in vegetarian cuisine.
The flavors of Vietnam are so fresh! Vegetarians can eat anything from spring rolls to rice pancakes and different dip sauces. Tel Aviv has an amazing food scene with a lot of vegetarian options, and the best hummus we’ve ever had. Roasted aubergine, tahini, and Shakshuka are must-haves. Then there’s California, with a modern cuisine inspired by both Mexico and the Middle East.