Meet the Norwegian Chef That Wants You to Eat Cake for Breakfast

Tiril Refsum, creator of Oslo Raw and author of Rågodt
Tiril Refsum, creator of Oslo Raw and author of Rågodt | © Ida Angvik, Oslo RAW
Photo of Danai Christopoulou
8 August 2018

Eating sweets and taking care of yourself can go hand in hand. At least if you ask Tiril Lunde Refsum, creator of Oslo RAW and author of the Rågodt cookbook. She talked to us about the misconceptions around raw diet and why eating (and doing) what you love is the best way to stay healthy.

Tiril Lunde Refsum is an educated raw food chef hosting workshops all over Scandinavia. Her creations are raw, vegan and free from gluten and refined sugar. With a passion for healthy eating, she continues to find innovative ways to introduce different types of food that are healthy yet delicious.

What was the process that went into the creation of your book?

I worked on the book for over seven months, but the good (and challenging) part was to collect all the recipes I’ve been creating over the years. The book is a result of experimentation and exploration, internal and external. It all comes down to letting pleasure and self-care be the guidelines to good health. There is so much lightness in not fixating with perfectionism, in seeing how food is about nourishment and pleasure. The more I wrote about the benefits of natural raw foods, the less attached I became to the facts and theories. It’s about eating healthy, not cleansing or nutritional facts. We are so very individual anyway that our needs differ a lot.

Mango yogurt puddings | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

How does a normal day look like for you, nutrition-wise?

I eat loads of raw foods, vegetables, and raw chocolate… I want to feel free to eat what I want. I’m not affected by any allergies or illnesses but I am very sensitive, so I love to eat as natural as possible and stress as little as I possible. My cravings change with the seasons and the mood. I usually start my day with a large cup of hot chocolate with herbs, roots, and fats (such as maca, ashwagandha, and brain octane). I love our raw brunch at OSLO RAW and eat there as often as I can! In the summer, I love making a big bowl of salad for dinner with quinoa, fresh veggies, and tasty dressings. Some days, to be honest, I eat cake all day. Snickers cake for breakfast, a raw energy ball for a snack, a fresh cheesecake for lunch and a raw brownie for dinner. Just to be able to do that, I feel so happy! Just go with your guts and don’t overthink it: as long as the reason for your choice of foods is to take care of yourself at all levels, you cannot go wrong.

So many raw desserts! | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

How difficult has it been to build your brand and establish yourself as a raw food chef?

I’ve had to twist and turn a lot, inside-out, to grow. OSLO RAW has made me look at myself in ways I didn’t know a business could do. To go from baking alone in the kitchen, to leading 20 employees in one year is a huge step. To take care of the personal and loving aspect of the business and still manage to grow and stick to structure is challenging for me. I’m that kind of person that loves creating spontaneously and doing everything at the same time – but not everybody works that way. I am so lucky to work with a team of both very structured and warm beings; only together we can build an empire.

Raspberry cheesecake | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

What is people’s most common misconception about raw food and desserts?

Raw food can often be confused with a rigid and strict diet. For me, it all comes down to enjoying raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and oils whenever I feel like it. It’s not better or worse, it’s an option. Healthy foods can also often be related to boring and unfulfilling dishes. This is a huge misconception, as we prove every day at our cafes: guests tell us daily how filling and delicious our food is, some really surprised by that fact! That’s also why I wrote my book; I wanted to show people how amazing and tasty raw food is.

Raw food can be unexpectedly savory | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of trying a raw diet?

We all know how to bake bread, cook veggies and prepare meat. But do we know how simple it is to make a cake based on avocado, coconut, and cacao? It’s all about stripping everything down to its natural roots – not even heating it up. If you want to bring more raw food into your daily life, try adding salads and sprouts to your meals. Have a smoothie for breakfast, bake a simple raw brownie for lunch and experiment with delicious energy snacks for a quick refill. And if you think dessert as unhealthy, try one of our cakes: they’re full of healthy fats, proteins and pleasure. I eat them for breakfast every day!

Smoothies | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

How do you see Oslo Raw evolving in the future?

I want to open many OSLO RAW cafes and shops all over Scandinavia. Write more books about wellness and food, resell our products to other businesses, expand our event-and-catering sector and continue to offer workshops and lectures. I see OSLO RAW as a beautiful contributor to making organic, vegan and handmade raw food and sweets more available to all people. Life is all about pleasure, and we want to make it a habit to celebrate the weekday, eat raw goodies without guilt. Our mission is to help you find happiness and wellness in the smallest of things.

Could you share a simple tip with our readers that’s perfect for this hot weather?

When the wild raspberries are juicy and sweet, I fill my freezer with pink ice popsicles that last long after the berry season. These are made in a few minutes, by blending together raspberries with coconut milk, maple syrup and pitted dates, freezing them and then coating them in a white chocolate mixture made with melted cacao butter, agave syrup and a pinch of salt. They melt slowly in your mouth and the flavor for a long time. Raspberries are also packed with nutrients such as C and E vitamin, magnesium and potassium.

Yes, you can have donuts! | © Line Dammen for Rågodt cookbook by Gyldendal 2018, courtesy of Oslo RAW

If you want to taste Oslo RAW’s creations, they are made fresh daily at two locations in Adamstuen Torg and Eger Karl Johan. Check their website for more information. You can also make them at home using the recipes of Rågodt.

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