Sustainably sourced ingredients, livelihood support for employees, training for marginalised locals and a communal kitchen to make good food accessible and affordable – Chef Kamilla Seidler’s new restaurant demonstrates how chefs can drive progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
On 14 November, Restaurant Lola, a new social awareness and globetrotting gastronomy project, launched in the Danish capital Copenhagen. It is world-renowned Chef Kamilla Seidler's first solo restaurant, having recently returned from Bolivia, where she ran a restaurant and culinary school for underprivileged youth alongside fellow restaurateur Claus Meyer. Lola is set in a completely renovated 300 year old mill on the ramparts of christianshavn and brings its guests a wealth of taste and flavour, inspired by Kamilla and her team’s multi-cultural culinary influences and various world travels.
The innovative dishes are mainly made from local and organic ingredients and produce – the team wants to make sure they are serving products that are produced in a sustainable way. The ambiance at Lola is fun and accessible: "There's no dress code or anything formal. You can storm in, have a couple of dishes and a glass of wine, or you can sit there for the whole night and have fun with friends and family", Kamilla says.
But the restaurant itself is only half the business: the other half is called “Lola Impact”, a job inclusion and training project that targets people on the periphery of society and helps them get involved in culinary courses. Participants do not only hone their cooking technique, but also acquire life skills, learn to build relationships and integrate into society. Lola aspires to work as a catalyst for change in the restaurant industry in terms of working environment and equality.
Both parts of the project – social awareness and globetrotting gastronomy – are equally important. "We are trying to build a sustainable restaurant where employees can actually have a life and not feel bad because they didn't work 80 hours a week." says Kamilla.
Another exciting project in the pipeline is the communal dining initiative Kamilla is planning to start in Lola’s banquet hall. This will give local people the opportunity to eat a healthy meal for a reasonable price, enjoyed in a friendly setting with friends and neighbours.
Lola is run by five partners. Alongside Kamilla work Chef and Academy Director Mette Strarup; Chef and Culinary Director of Events Rune Toft; Operations Director James Shreeve; and CEO Jakob Gard Nielsen.