The sustainable chef

For the past few years, a group of ISS chefs have been developing healthy, delicious and sustainable food to serve in office canteens across the globe. One such chef is Henrik Seierø, whose sustainable meals are making employees – and the planet – healthier, one bite at a time.

DK People - Henrik Seierø
Six months ago, ISS Chef Henrik Seierø introduced Vegan Tuesdays to the canteen that he runs in Copenhagen, Denmark. The canteen serves 200 people from seven different companies. A tough audience, considering that only 15% of Danes are vegetarian or vegan and 60% eat meat every day. 

“The idea is to have one day a week focusing only on healthy and sustainable food,” Henrik explains. “That takes some work. If you serve 40 kilos of meat, everyone will eat it. But not everybody loves parsnips. The key is to introduce such produce through dishes that people know and love. For example, I make a fully vegan pizza. People go for it because it’s something they know, and it looks great. When they’ve had that first tasty bite, they’re usually won over.”  

Vegan Tuesdays are not about veganism. They’re about changing minds, eating healthier and being more environmentally conscious in the food choices we make. The great news is, they’ve been a huge success with both staff and managers.  


Good for the budget and the environment

Henrik does a lot of work outside the kitchen – talking to people, explaining the cost-saving and environmental benefits to customers, and spreading his passion. He even turns his menus upside down. If he serves a hamburger, the menu will introduce the vegetables first; the meat comes last.   

For Henrik, the passion is as much about the planet as it is about health. It takes around seven kilos of grain to produce one kilo of beef, which makes vegetables a much more sustainable choice. Food waste is another important issue – for Henrik as well as his customers. 

“In Denmark alone, we throw away 700,000 tons of food waste each year. It’s bad for the environment and really expensive for my customers. If I can reduce food waste by 40% in my canteen, I’ve made a difference to the world and to my customers’ budgets,” says Henrik. 

A lot of small changes have made a big difference. Henrik’s cooks use the whole vegetable, even the peel, and often slow cook in a warm oven to reduce energy consumption. Most of the produce they use in the kitchens is sourced locally, reducing transportation costs and CO2 emissions. Henrik is even introducing a cotton box for take-aways that’s 100% biodegradable. 

“At ISS, you have the freedom to pursue your ambitions.”

Henrik Seierø, Chef at ISS Denmark
Following the success of Vegan Tuesdays, Henrik is already thinking bigger. “I have very big ambitions. I want to change the world. I want people to know that the way we’re producing and consuming food right now is bad for the environment. And that we can all do something to change that, by making conscious choices,” he says. 

Henrik’s work in this area isn’t just confined to ISS. He is, for example, a board member of REFOOD Label, a certification and advisory organisation that helps companies reduce food waste and increase recycling. For Henrik, this work is a passion – and it is supported by ISS. 

“At ISS, you have the freedom to pursue your ambitions. If you have an idea, you can put it out there. If it’s good, they will support it. I love that I have the support of a big company – that I’m empowered to make decisions and make a real difference.” 


About Henrik  

Since starting as a chef in 1997, Henrik Seierø has worked at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Denmark, run canteens serving up to 1,500 people a day and operated his own catering company focused on healthy and nutritious food.  

Among his many achievements, Henrik won ISS’s Health, Safety & Environment Award 2018 and received an ISS Apple Award in 2015 for commitment to diversity. He is also an elected Board Member of the REFOOD brand association. 

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