Johanna visiting us at our store in Sturegallerian, located just next to Stockholms Matmarknad, where she works at the raw food chief.
Dagmar sat down with Johanna Ljunggren, raw food chief, yogi and author of the blog Detox Life. She has collaborated with us on events, creating stunning dishes that reflect our collections and shared values. We love her decadent take on take on raw food, which does not compromise between pleasure and ethics.
Can you tell me about your background, and where your interest in raw food began?
I used to work as a yoga teacher. All the food that I encountered on my yoga trips were this really lovely way of preparing food called Raw Food or Plant Food as I like to call it. Cold pressed juices, nut cheeses – sometimes very simple ways of eating plants. No bad additives with the focus being on the actual products, where they came from and how they whee produced.
Your approach to raw food is so innovative, and each dish so spectacular – where do you get your inspiration? How did you cultivate this approach?
My inspiration comes from my life and all the different lives in the one I´ve lived. Today I live here in Stockholm but when I was young my family moved around, from Ecuador, to Iran and then the Dominican Republic. My parents always wanted us to taste and eat what was local. At the time, it was not always “child” friendly, but today I`m so happy that they offered me eat what was local.I´m a very visual person. I used to work in fashion, love pictures, music, art, words and all that. But it´s actually through yoga that I was able to make it all connect and actually feel it had a meaning to me. I was, and still am a quite complex person. Working as an assistant in fashion, styling on my own it was not the best environment for me, although I always loved to express myself and still do in a visual matter.
Can you tell me about the “flavour of ethics”?
Talking about the taste of ethics as one of the key ingredients in the future of eating is really important to me. More so than diets and fads in food. It hurts me that I have to step over humans to be able to go to my work everyday and make cold pressed juices, healthy eats and make “plant love”. I hope in the future there will exist a FOOD BANK, where all the food and product stores, markets, and restaurants waste will be redistributed. It´s unethical, the way we treat waste products that are perfectly fine.
One of Johanna’s psychedelic smoothies, customised to match our A/W 15 collection. Photo: Fredrik Skogkvist
How is this expressed in other areas of your life?
I also find it hard how we today focus so much on what we put into our bodies that we diet and over eat. But the passion, the actual just sitting down and sharing a meal is not always apparent. It’s true that techniques and styles can make magic, but really what´s better than something made with love and care. The way Italians, South Americans and Asians cook inspire me. Home made beauties served almost out of someone hand. That´s a meal I would love to enjoy.
What lays ahead in the development of your cuisine and career as a raw food chef?
In the future, I don´t know. What lies ahead is hard for me to see. I know what I want and wish for, and I know it will happen. Just not how, where, or who with.’