Food Eating is a way to explore and experience the world around us. Our culinary traditions carry stories and memories and allow us to share them with other people. At ARKET, we are convinced that good food helps us opening up to new ideas and that it can bring positive, transformative change to our culture.
‘I became a vegetarian when I started working at ARKET. I had been wanting to transition for a long while and when I came here I just felt inspired by everything we do in the café. It opened up a new creative side for me. I’ve been working as a chef for seven years and it’s a really fun challenge to make vegetarian food, to make vegetables delicious. I love creating new dishes.
‘I think you can inspire people who have an interest in food in a way that they’ve never thought of themselves.’
A lot of people think vegetarian food is difficult. What we’re trying to do at ARKET is inspire our guests to create new habits when they’re eating out. To make them feel like they’re doing good while eating well. If you want to help people eat more vegetarian food, it’s extremely important that it’s delicious and filling; you shouldn’t feel anything is missing.
We offer sustainable food with a clear health focus, without compromising on taste. We’re using simple, seasonal and organic ingredients and uplevel them in different ways – mixing a humble beetroot or carrot into a hummus or enhancing their flavour with various seasonings. We always try to include and combine the five basic tastes; each dish should be sweet, sour and salty, have a bit of bitterness and a hint of savoury umami. The combination of different textures is also really important, as they add another dimension to the dish.
I think food is a really interesting way of learning new things. Food is a way to be curious. Everyone needs to eat and most people enjoy eating. It’s also something that is familiar. Across all cultures, communities gather around food for celebrations and different occasions. But food is also constantly changing; seasons change and new ideas influence how we eat. So I think you can inspire people who have an interest in food in a way that they’ve never thought of themselves. It’s quite easy to go from eating meat everyday to cutting down to just a few days a week. It has the ability to be quite flexible.
What I find fascinating is how most people don’t think about how the things we eat are produced, or what it looks like in nature. There is such a disconnect between the food you put in your mouth and the process behind it. I don’t think people are aware of how much work is behind every single thing we consume. Something as simple as sesame seeds – where do they come from, how do they grow? I want to share that curiosity with our guests, explaining bits and pieces about what they’re eating. It’s about creating awareness around your daily habits. We’ve actually thought about this process a lot with the products we serve and sell in our cafés. We have deliberately chosen organic high quality products made by passionate people who care for the environment and the way they manufacture their products. From the flours in our pastries, the Swedish yellow peas in our hummus, to the heritage legumes from Nordisk Råvara – it’s all been very meticulously picked for a reason: what’s good for the planet is also good for our health.
I’m super passionate about food and about making an impact in the world. And at least for me, being more aware and making more conscious choices has made me happier. I care about myself, what I eat and the impact it has on the planet, which of course affects my own my well-being.’
Today, Jessica Leroux is working as a full time Certified Life Coach, helping her clients have more fun in their daily lives, which in turn contributes to their overall wellbeing.