The Roots of Studio

Blog post

Ebba Svenung

Ruth Osborne

Niklas Karlsson

When you know, you know. But sometimes life throws us a curveball.

Finding an edible experiment researching the future of the food system in the corner of Fotografiska Stockholm could be said to be a little disconcerting, confusing, and surprising.  So whether you realise that the disco beat you are hearing does actually signal your arrival at the right spot or not, we make sure that a warm welcome and a pickled martini are swiftly delivered to ease you in.

Yep you heard me right. 


Admittedly maybe a little unexpected, a Don Johnson style handbrake turn from your “regular” dining experience that centres on flavour, provenance, innovation, skill and science. But like many gastronomical domains, sustainable food projects have a language attached to them. It can feel like a club for a few rather than a space for us all, creating a barrier to sharing the ideas that result. From day one, we were only interested in breaking down those barriers, this was going to be a project for everyone. 

So welcome.

Warmly welcoming people to the table is not something we have learnt - it is in our DNA. Not just part of the job, it is who we are and with Studio 2000 it breaches our personal DNA and sits within the DNA of the project as a whole - beyond the soil and the science, solidarity and inclusivity are the core principles of what we are doing.

Speaking of principles, the Studio 2000 project stands firmly on a number of core principles, “Solidarity in Land Use” being one of them. Reading that phrase, it is really what we were trying to avoid. “WTF?!” a few people may mutter if that is all they heard about us. Another restaurant throwing around lofty statements that make little sense on first hearing them and that few people feel they can relate to. However, when you dive into it, gain some understanding and really think about it, only using the land and resources you individually should and respecting that others also need space to flourish and thrive, it really isn’t so lofty or exclusive. It is kind, it is right and it is fair. It is what creates community on both local and global scales. And who doesn’t want to work towards making themselves and the world around them as a whole a little (or a lot) more kind and more fair? We all crave a little community.

Studio 2000 may be an experiment and a project alongside being a dining experience but don’t let the idea of an experiment fool you - it will mean you expect to walk into a serious and structured sterile environment. We take the research and the conversations seriously but it is highly unlikely that the words sterile, strict or structured are ones that spring to mind when you think of the three of us if you have ever met us!

The three of us.

Looking back, its a strange location - Selfridges rooftop, Oxford Street, central London - but that is where we were first all in the same room.

Paul was a visiting guest chef on the wastED project, a 7 week long cacophony of gastronomy, activism and flavour brought to London by Dan Barber and the team of Blue Hill New York. 

Ruth was Dans Operations Director, helping conduct this magical madness both on and off the floor. Job #1 was to be primary liaison with all the guest chefs. It was a spring of new experiences, intensity, joy and possibly the largest spreadsheet ever created.

Niklas was invited to join Paul on his trip as a friend of Dan and to see what we were up to. He got the best deal - sit, eat, drink and enjoy!  

Paul was invited for the final week of wastED London as it was a week we knew Dan would be with us and he was definitely going to be in the room for this one. At the time I thought that this magical, inspiring, life changing (exhausting!) journey was coming to a close. Looking back, little did I know what I do now. That project, that riot, was just the preview - the preface - for what is now a lifes work, a passion and a real coming together of like minds. If only i knew then that on Friday March 31st 2017, the band was finally together! 

How strange a privilege and joy it is to look back with some hindsight and smile with the knowledge, unknown at the time, of the direction the future has to hold.

Speaking personally, Paul was the 2nd to last guest chef of the run - day 36 of 38 - and by the time he landed in London and I ran down to Oxford Street to greet him from the taxi, I was already so happy and proud to be bringing such an epic project to a close. And so tired! Having him in the kitchen was a whirlwind and a pleasure and delicious (of course!) and on departure I vowed to visit Stockholm and his restaurant at Fotografiska as soon as I could. In reality I had spent that spring being privileged enough to be collecting a bag full of invitations like that from some wonderful guest chefs and with the future unknown post wastED beyond a long hot bath and a glass (or two) of wine, I was not realistically thinking it likely that i would embark on a trip to Stockholm anytime soon. 

But hey, what do I know? Fate played its cards, the phone rang, plans were hatched and by mid-August I was living in Gärdet, visiting Rosendal and working at Fotografiska.

August 16th 2021. That was D Day.

It is not the day we did our first service. It is not the day Niklas brought Erikslund complete with our “square”. It is not the day the first seed went into the ground. It is the day we all sat together for the first time, metaphorically rolled up our sleeves and said “ok, i am game, lets do this”

It was the beginning.

When you bring characters like us together, the sheer volume of ideas and banter, the meandering journeys that our meetings take us on - I will admit that it can occasionally get a little off course. 

All big dreamers, all creatives with passion and our own vision of how we think we should best execute this can result in some solid U-turns and direction changes as we ebb and flow through one anothers visions and find a way to mould them together to the most successful version of what we are doing. 

If you were to sit in those meetings and hear us bouncing all over the place, the aforementioned “Don Johnson” to disco may seem a very natural twist. Mundane almost.

Hmmm. Interesting how it always seems to come back to disco.

Disco. The musical genre that above all others inspires inclusivity. The playful rhythms, the double claps (damn Niklas and i love love love a double clap), the enmasse dance routines and the acceptance of all styles on the floor always creates a space for fun. As long as you move to the beat, you are welcome. 

The nature of disco with its soaring melodies, pounding baseline and anthemic moments really does result in such a broad and enjoyable range of music that everyone has a disco favourite that they are happy to revisit and enjoy time and again. Just try and stop your toes tapping.

It is that feeling I want people to take home from a visit to Studio 2000. Beyond the gastronomy, beyond the science, beyond the drinks and the stories. I want people to take home the sense of fun, acceptance and curiosity I hope we allow people to explore and embrace when they are with us. 

It truly is the greatest gift we can have to spend a night with you all.

Hopefully before we dive into what we have done, and what is to come - this introduction how we are who we are provides insight into the roots of the people of Studio 2000.*

Through this blog we will document the first season of Studio 2000 that has passed, and the work that we will continue to do and drive going forward. Thanks for joining us on the journey. 

Keep on dancing.