Susanna Bill describes herself as a passionate food creator, constantly on the hunt for new flavours and food experiences. During her career she has been a PhD student and a teacher at LTH, as well as Head of Innovation at Sony Ericsson. However, it is in the combination of food and innovation where she has found her true passion. Her interest in cooking has taken her all the way to the TV screens where she secured a bronze medal in Swedish MasterChef. Today, it is possible to pick up lunch in Susanna’s restaurant Susannas Kök in central Lund.
In our interview we get Susanna’s best advice on where to find inspiration for healthy cooking and how to stay creative in everyday life.
Where does your interest in food come from?
– I spent my teens in India and moved back to Sweden at a time when you could pretty much only buy yellow curry and mango chutney in the shops. The desire to recreate all the wonderful taste experiences I had in India aroused my interest in cooking. And then I’ve always been the one who gets hungry first at home. I simply spent a lot of time thinking about food!
What benefit have you had from your education and your work at Lund University in your career as a food creator?
– Actually more than you might imagine. Problem-solving, systematic thinking, project management and innovation are the kind of thing I use every day, both when it comes to creating and planning menus for catering assignments and lunches and to get everything ready at the same time. I have taught and supervised degree projects, and I use these good experiences in my cooking evenings and when running cookery courses. When I wrote my first cookbook (Klok på Mat – “Food Wise”) together with researchers at the Anti-Diabetic Food Centre at LU, I clearly benefitted from having written half a doctoral thesis. As an outsider, it is not always so easy to understand how researchers think and what drives them, but my own experience as a research student made me into a bridge-builder who contributed to ensuring a fairly smooth workflow.
Where do you get your inspiration and what advice do you have for maintaining creativity in everyday life?
– As I mentioned, I think about food a lot and really ponder what I feel like eating. Going into food shops is also a good idea, as you can easily see what’s in season. And social media of course, where I don’t only look at beautiful or cool images but also at what is actually on the plate. Creativity in everyday life is always challenging but I would say that it is not a bad idea to plan a little so that you don’t end up at 5 p.m. having to shop for the evening meal; that rarely results in anything particularly creative. And then, dare to try some new things – follow a recipe sometimes if you rarely do that, or cook without a recipe if you otherwise always use one. And finally, learn to make a really good tomato sauce. You can use that for almost everything!
What are your predictions for the food trends of 2021?
– More vegetarian, more circular thinking. I also believe that we will hang on to the take-away trend even beyond the restaurants’ need for a little extra help to survive the pandemic. And I believe we will all want to celebrate and socialise in an unpretentious way, so simple, smart food that doesn’t require too much work or oversight.