We had the good fortune of connecting with Luka Balac and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Luka, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
After working years in different restaurants, we realized the big problem related to waste that is part of the industry. You can either close your eyes to the issue and just focus on the cooking or acknowledge the problem and try to do something about it. Over the years you start realizing that the amount of waste produced during the preparation (mise-en-place) as well as during the dinner service was really big compared to the amount of customers that were served. Mostly it is packaging materials and food waste coming from refining or food that went bad because the produce orders were too big or there was too much food prepared. The idea of our zero waste restaurant was born out of our desire to make the restaurant industry more sustainable, and to show that creative and great food can go hand in hand with sustainability. We strongly believe that the contemporary waste management practices of the industry are outdated, and we want to do something about it. We are showing that there is no excuse or reason why not to work more sustainably – and by doing that, we want to change the way the restaurant industry operates. Nolla is the first zero waste restaurant in the Nordic countries, and one of the first ones around the world. Nolla looks like a normal restaurant, but everything you see here, and everything that happens behind the scenes is actually pretty far from normal.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I discovered my passion for food as a little boy, watching my grandmother cook. I am a self thought cook but I have a vast experience working in the casual and fine dinning restaurants. The path towards owning my own restaurant was not easy, but with patience, commitment and dedication it came to reality. The idea of Nolla was not just to open a zero waste restaurant but to create a model that shows the industry that it is profitable to replace outdated practices with more sustainable ones.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Restaurants: BasBas, Kuurna, Velamo, YesYes, Grön Coffee: Kaffa Roastery, Way bakery, Ekberg, Gran Delicato Art: Lokal, Atheneum, Kiasma, Design museum

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All the courageous zero waste warriors! Restaurant Silo and Restaurant Amass as the path leaders.

Website: www.restaurantnolla.com
Instagram: @balac.luka
Facebook: Resturanant Nolla

Image Credits
Nikola Tomevski @tomevski&co @nikolatomevski

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.