Five foods for thought

TUCO Academy kicked off its Copenhagen Study Tour with a five-stop culinary jaunt around the city’s top eateries

I’d barely recovered from TUCO’s annual conference in Exeter when I was lucky enough to be asked to attend a TUCO Academy Study Tour in Copenhagen.  

Launched in 2015 The University Caterers Organisation’s Academy was designed specifically to address the training and professional development needs of caterers in higher and further education.

The TUCO Academy addresses all levels of training, from first job to senior management, with courses on everything from basic food hygiene to strategic management.

This August, I joined a group of 15 university caterers from across the UK, including Edinburgh, Birmingham and Royal Holloway, on a 3-day tour of one of Scandinavia’s leading foodie nations.

Copenhagen has 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most of any Scandinavian city, and is home to Noma, the two-Michelin-star restaurant run by chef René Redzepi, ranked as the best restaurant in the world on four separate occasions. 

On the tour we sampled countless delicious treats, and discovered a number of new food trends – far too many to mention in one article, so I’ll be posting a series a blogs from our trip over the coming weeks. The first instalment is a round-up of our five-stop culinary tour of the city. 

After shortly arriving in the Danish capital we were whisked away on a five-stop food tour. Our first destination was a Ramen noodle bar called Papa Ramen. Not your typical Danish dish, I’m sure you’re thinking. But our guide explained to us how Ramen has proven extremely popular in recent years in Copenhagen – small, family-run eateries like this one are hitting all the right notes with locals and tourists alike.

It was certainly a good way to kick off our tour. As we slurped our pork, egg and veggie mixture, accompanied with a cool Danish beer, the TUCO team were soon talking about the possibility of Ramen pop-up restaurants on campus.

After a quick stop at the Veggiesvin van for a flavoursome meat-free patty, it was time to try out Bror, where the tasting really got adventurous.

On the menu was deep friend bull’s penis crackers, testicle nuggets, cow’s heart tacos, and we finished up with cod’s tongue (yes, you did read that right). These risky dishes were not to everyone’s taste, but it certainly got the group thinking about food waste. Do we really have to throw away the less desirable animal parts, or could we experiment a little?  

Back on the beat, we swung by the Royal Smushi Café. The signature dish, smushi, is an authentic Danish open-faced sandwiches, locally called ‘smørrebrød’, but the size of sushi, which allows you to taste a variety of small dishes in one meal. The stunningly decorated diner is also well worth a look if you’re ever in town. 

As the team approached it’s final stop, a cold refreshment was definitely on the cards. Lucky for us our guide rounded off our tour with a visit to Balderdash – a centre for cocktails, beer, spirits lab, pop up restaurants, and a gallery.

The bar is in a protected landmark building from 1732 and remains full of character as soon as you walk in. It was nostalgia all round as we were taken back to our childhoods with a cool and refreshing lemonade and ice cream float, only this time with some alcohol thrown in. This place is full of character, and reminded us all that dining can be simple, easy, and above all, a bit of fun. 

The refreshing cocktail brought our epic food tour to a close. After lots of walking, thousands of calories consumed, and many a discussion about new food concepts and how they can be adapted to the HE environment, it was time for a well-earned rest before the evening activities began.

More to come… 

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