What exactly does healthful eating mean? Does it have to mean jumping on a diet or excluding entire food groups? Does it have to be expensive, time-consuming, complicated and restrictive? We believe most people do want to eat healthy, but like us would like to do so without the weights and measures guilt-trip. We want to enjoy our meals!
But with the multitude of diet fads, food trends and ‘isms’ we probably weren’t the only ones feeling somewhat bewildered. Don’t get us wrong, we respect if it’s someone’s thing to adopt a hardcore diet regime or ditch entire food groups. We were just wondering if there wasn’t a less extreme and simpler alternative – a kind of ‘Middle Way’ – that everyone else could get on board with?
So one day, after a trip to the forest, Jens realised that Mother Nature might provide the answer. He's mind drifting to the wilderness of his Scandinavian homelands and an animal that everyone knows. And with a moment of inspiration, a simple idea was born: EAT LIKE A BEAR.
Jens Hannibal, The Visionary
Michael Tingsager, The Implementer
Simon Denton, The Chef
Jens, is the visionary driving force behind The Bear Kitchen. He grew up north of Copenhagen, Denmark, close to forest, landscape and sea. Nature always played a major role in his life. During his twenties he’s travelled extensively including to Tibet and Thailand where he learnt to meditate cultivated a world-view founded on compassion, love and unity.
His passion for food began early on and when he later on realised how important food choices are for the environment he understood food choices are absolutely critical in saving the planet. He’s fate was sealed. He’d found he’s life purpose. Before arriving in London in 2011 to study a degree in entrepreneurship, he had already begun to imagine a food concept where sustainability and high-quality aspirations would meet a down-to-earth, accessible vibe. During his studies he developed the plan O-food, a Scandinavian Food Bar focused on sustainable fish, which would become the precursor for The Bear Kitchen. Although he’d worked in various hospitality jobs in order to gain first hand experience, as on most entrepreneurial journey’s mistakes were made and important lessons learned. It was a hard struggle, but as O-food was closing Jens was realising that an idea, a purpose, cannot be bound by a physical location or a name. So after O-food closed he pressed on, more determined than ever before to make a dent in the universe.
Michael is from rural Jutland, Denmark, and grew up in a family that owned and ran a handful of eating places. So from an early age he decided on a career in the hospitality sector. For over 15 years he worked in a variety of jobs ranging from a Danish cafe chain to McDonald’s in the Denmark and the UK where he met his wife Claire. Having experienced from the inside what he calls “a broken industry” that puts puts profits before anything else at the expense of people and the quality of food, he is determined to be part of a new awakening that puts people and planet first, where the love of food is at the heart of all activities.
After a serendipitous first encounter in London late 2015 during the closing days of O-food, it took but another few rather magical meetings before they knew with absolute certainty that they had to work together. Jens as the creative visionary. Michael as the practical implementer. It was a match made in heaven.
Most recently to join the founding team, Simon Denton, a professional chef with more than 20 years experience, who like Michael had grown sick and tired of the old and dusty ways of a broken industry. With the trinity complete, driven by shared values and unwavering determination to make a positive difference for people and planet, the three of us form a formidable core team and seed of The Bear Kitchen’s culture and transformative approach to food.