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Cooking on a student budget led to a career as a food entrepreneur

Cookbook author and food influencer Julia Tuvesson found a passion for cooking during her ethnology studies at Lund University in 2014. This passion has resulted in cookbooks such as Plåtmat, Käka grönt and Brynt smör, as well as the popular Instagram account “Tuvessonskan”.

When did you discover your interest in cooking?

– I started cooking during my time as a student. I needed to save money and a natural step was to cut down my meat consumption. I cycled from shop to shop and bought up ingredients on special offer. Then the challenge was to come up with something to make out of all the beans and pulses, root vegetables, tomato paste and cartons. For me, a whole new creative world of food opened up, and within the limitation of vegetarian cooking on a tight budget, I developed a crazy interest in food. Among other things, Plåtmat, or One Pan Food, is a result of this; I wrote a whole cookbook on the ideas I developed at that time. It is a way of preparing green food according to the season, using leftovers, not needing a lot of equipment that results in a lot of washing up and so on.

What benefit did you get from your education and your time as a student at Lund University in your work as a food creator?

– I have a Bachelor’s degree in Ethnology and it was during my last semester at the University that I started to get interested in the cultural aspects of food and meals. I studied courses in digital communication and social media and you could definitely say that was one of the reasons why I started my own Instagram account, for the opportunity to apply the knowledge I had gained from my studies. I have now written 3 cookbooks in 3 years, and of course my studies helped me a lot in the process. Research, source criticism and project management are but some of the things I learnt during my studies that are of great use to me today. And writing, of course! The ability to take criticism and feedback and make something constructive out of it.

Do you have a favourite “food memory” from your time as a student in Lund?

– When I was studying my last semester of ethnology, I got to know a girl called Frida that I immediately liked a lot. Frida and I spent pretty much all our time together. It was also Frida who introduced me to the notion of the green kitchen! That’s why I would spontaneously say that my best food memory from my time as a student in Lund was when Frida and I went to her cottage to write our degree projects. For a week, we sat and wrote, prepared meals together, went for walks and talked. A fantastic time which means so much to me.

After a tiring day at work, what do you make for dinner?

– A tiring day at work for me often means that I have prepared a crazy amount of food. So the family eats the leftovers while I eat sandwiches, packaged gnocchi with tomato sauce or takeaway food, because I’ve gotten bored of the food I cooked.

What are your predictions for the food trends of 2021?

– Food that is easy to adapt to one person. Easy to prepare, with few but luxurious ingredients – like gnocchi in tomato sauce with browned saffron butter. We will continue to be interested in rustic food, like country fare from different cultures. I believe grilled sandwiches/toasties will see a real boost. I am longing for the avocado sandwich in the cafés to get replaced by the classic toast.

Photo credits: Photos of Julia (right) and cover photo of the book “Brynt smör” (left) are taken by Miriam Preis

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