Maybe you don’t want to start a restaurant, but would like to try a pop-up restaurant?

Omnia’s Cooks Guild school’s (in Finnish Kokkikilta) students opened a pop-up restaurant called Lilla Henricus for two weeks. The event itself was held in Lakelankatu premises. This project-based learning engaged students to use diverse skills, such as researching (sustainable menu), writing e.g. menu in Finnish and Swedish, using different social media tools, collaborating, public speaking, multimedia presentations, video documentaries, art installations etc.

The main idea of this event was to integrate the culinary promotion of regional cuisine and having fun together. This pop-up restaurant event’s aim was to help the students gain entrepreneurial skills and competences before the actual Henricus restaurant period. Pop-up restaurant event was attended by the first-year food services (cook) students and customer service (waiter/waitress) students of the Guild school’s project.

Photo: Dessert: roasted white chocolate mousse

Pop-up restaurant is also a way to showcase students’ talents to a wider audience. Another idea of this event was to integrate compulsory common units of “Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activities” and “Operating in a digital environment” together with the “Promotion of sustainable development” to the compulsory vocational unit “Working in catering services”. This enabled them to gain both vocational skills and common practice skills during the activity.

Photo: Homemade sausages

During the project, the students, among other things, designed the menu to be offered, ordered the raw materials based on the idea of sustainable development and carried out the event themselves.

For many Finnish people, pop-up restaurant events have become an entrepreneurial springboard.

Cooks guild schools

Cooks guild schools aim to build a safe and digitized project-based learning environment where mistakes are allowed. This is done through work on versatile projects and development hubs, such as the different events in Parliament House or various gala events.

Photo: Guild team students (cooks and waitresses) together with professionals served the Gala dinner with European tourism forum 2019, at Helsinki City Hall.

Guild schools’ pedagogic is that each student builds his or her own learning path right from the start of the studies, and learning solutions are tailored to each individual's goals. Team and peer learning and community building create a good team spirit and support learning. Correct customer work and entrepreneurial practices increase the sense of ability. Customer work samples provide a good basis for transition to work.

Photo: The guild team students (cooks and waitresses). They have started their studies 2019.

Project-based learning is different than the traditional learning which includes many tests, homework assignments, and other more traditional forms of academic coursework. The execution and completion of a project may take several weeks or months, or it may even unfold over the course of a semester or year. The pop-up restaurant project in question lasts 2 weeks and then the student enters the real restaurant environment for 2 months. Project-based learning experiences are often designed to address real-life problems and issues.

Photo: Students professional portfolio

Oona Haapakorpi, Omnia