Meet the sisters behind Ripe & Rå
Nordique has this week had a chat with two wonderful Norwegian sisters, Hannah and Ulla, who own the fantastic food business Ripe & Rå. They are now based in Geneva, Switzerland, but have certainly stayed true to their Norwegian roots with their business!
R&R: "Hannah has always been into cooking and reading up on health trends and nutrition science. For a long time she was working in a corporate business, first in Oslo and then Geneva. It was when she discovered that Geneva’s food lacked something fresh and healthy that she decided to leave the corporate life and follow her food dream!"
R&R: "Ulla is the younger of the two sisters. She studied at Hotel School in Lausanne, Switzerland. Ulla has always loved going to restaurants and trying out new things. You can make a safe bet that she will be at the food festivals nearby or at the opening of any new restaurant in town!"
Nordique: Tell us more about how Ripe & Rå started:
R&R: "Hannah decided to follow her dreams and Ulla immediately jumped at the opportunity to work with her sister. Being very proud of our Norwegian heritage, there was no doubt about what we wanted to brand and what we wanted to focus on.
Hannah had made a decision; she was going to start up something new and innovative. It had to be what she liked to eat: fresh, healthy and nutritious. However, we were sure that the menu had to have some Nordic flair."
Nordique: tell us more about the concept behind Ripe & Rå:
R&R: "Geneva is a city full of expats, big trading companies and NGOs. Our target group was clear: business people in Geneva who are looking for their lunch to be both convenient and healthy. We wanted to brand ourselves as Scandinavian, fresh and healthy."
"Even though the French-speaking people in Geneva do not always understand our name (or have trouble pronouncing it!) they still understand that Ripe & Rå is Nordic and they are usually intrigued. Who does not love a bit of hygge and Scandi vibe?!"
"The word of mouth quickly spread: two Norwegian sisters in Geneva, bringing a fresh, healthy and colourful experience to the workplace. Even before we had our logos printed we had our first customers. Since October 2017 we have brought lunch to several offices in Geneva, hosted bigger events and our salads and Rå snacks are to be found at fitness centres in Geneva. We are a bit overwhelmed but so happy!"
Nordique: What is it that you love about Nordic food, and why do you think it is so popular?
R&R: "We can definitely say that promoting ourselves as Norwegians has helped us. It can easily be compared with Swiss watches. They have a good reputation, honest and good craftsmanship. We see a real Nordic trend. People are craving the Nordic and Scandinavian products. We think that there are a lot of various factors to why this is happening."
Swedish design is on top, Scandinavian authors and filmmakers are trending and restaurants like NOMA have really set the bar for Nordic cuisine, and taken it to a new, global audience."
"People are looking for authenticity and the Scandinavians are the perfect example. This with a whole range of foods, designs and products, which are honest, simple, attractive, warm and happy."
"The Nordic cuisine and lifestyle has been proved to be amongst the healthiest in the world. Plus, for many people, Nordic cuisine remains quite exotic. We hope this trend continues, because we love sharing our Nordic culture and lifestyle!"
Nordique: What is your favourite Nordic food?
R&R: "Ulla’s favourite, which we often have on our menu, is smoked salmon or gravlax with dill on rye toast. A real Scandinavian classic."
"Hannah loves roasted beets and all other root vegetables. For breakfast, a bowl with warm porridge, topped with berries and Skyr is always a winner."
Nordique: What is next for Ripe & Rå?
R&R: "We have a few ideas on where we want to take our brand, but we like to keep some secrets! Right now we are focusing on business lunches, catering and events which is keeping us very busy. Geneva has had a taste of Scandinavia and they seem to want more."