Two men inspecting a meatball.

Creative powerhouse in Milan

Furniture with food is inseparable from the IKEA experience. To purchase a KLIPPAN, or a BILLY is not complete without a pit-stop in the IKEA Restaurant. So of course, the IKEA FOOD team is in Milan at the IKEA Festival.

A festival is not complete without one hand full of mouthwatering, delicious food and the other with a cold, refreshing drink. So at this year’s Salone del Mobile, IKEA FOOD decided to do its own take on the festival cuisine.

Martin Nordin, Creative Leader at IKEA FOOD, approached the task of catering at the festival with typical creative flair: “The idea behind the chosen dishes is being able to hold one plate of food in one hand so that you could simultaneously try the other one in your other hand.” His colleague Alexander Magnusson, Project Leader at IKEA FOOD Services AB in Malmö has joined him in Milan.

Last year, Alexander and Viktor Karlsson, pictured below, developed the menu for the newly opened IKEA Museum. The IKEA FOOD team have brought this down to Milan. “The reason these dishes are being served at the IKEA Festival is because I love those dishes! It’s a good opportunity to try the dishes on a bigger scale and a broader audience,” says Alexander. “Thousands of people will be visiting us each day,” adds Martin.

A man playfully showcasing meatballs in front of a patterned, clear-plastic curtain.
Meatballs and IKEA Food, a match made in heaven.
A man playfully holding a meatball between his teeth.

Festival food, IKEA style

“It was a little humorous thinking about Swedes doing Italian meatballs,” says Martin. “We got into the story behind the true origin of where the meatball actually comes from. It is not a Swedish invention, it is not an Italian invention, it’s maybe from the middle east, maybe China. It was really about how Swedes are curious about other food cultures.”

They will be serving an Italian meatball, similar to a traditional Swedish meatball just slightly bigger and well, more Italian, the other is the recently introduced Veggie ball. “The Veggie ball has made a huge impact, people are asking for an alternative to meat in today’s society. It not just for vegetarians, it’s for all people wanting to reduce their meat intake. The launch of the Veggie ball happened at the exact right time,” says Martin.

Martin and Alexander are both extremely passionate food-lovers. “Food and creativity are the same thing no? You can’t have one thing without the other,” says Alexander. Martin has a lifelong relationship with food, it’s something he has been doing his whole career, “I can make people happy with food.” Good news for all visitors to the festival.

Smiling master chef Martin Nordin peeking through an opening in a curtain.
Martin Nordin, bringing the fun into food.
A man in sunglasses standing in a sunlit spot by a wall with colourful decorations.
Leading the way at IKEA FOOD, Alexander Magnusson.

Menu at the IKEA Festival
Veggie balls with a curry sauce on a bed of grains from the PS 2017 collection, alongside yoghurt and fresh greens and herbs.
Italian meatballs made out of 100% pork stuffed with flavours from garlic, parsley and pepper with mashed potatoes, smoked cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

Rooibos and rosehip flavoured carbonated drink from the PS 2017 collection.