Staff competences in a sustainable setting

In the last post I presented an argument for using case studies to promote sustainable work practices in guest-oriented  vocational training. In this post I will share an example of how to make sustainable staff competences come to life through the use of a case study.


Morten Storm Overgaard’s wife, Rikke, owns and manages Restaurant Moment in Denmark. The restaurant is meant to demonstrate and explore the potential for running a sustainable, locally-based business. In the 6-minute recording below, Morten Storm Overgaard, who is also a professor at Aarhus University, talks about how the restaurant is managed.

Case Study: Restaurant Moment

The restaurant is located in a building that was specially built and uses minimum energy for heating, that recycles water and that has an associated greenhouse next to it that supplies many of the ingredients for the dishes offered on the menu. Morten Storm Overgaard also tries to approach zero waste and that leads to some very novel recipe ideas such as carrot top oil and apple peel sauce.

Listen as Overgaard describes how the restaurant is run (transcript here).

Potential pedagogical tasks

One case study can always lead to many different potential pedagogical tasks. Here are a few that come to mind. Can you think of other ways in which you would use this?

  1. Individual: Write a letter of application to work either as a waiter or a chef at Restaurant Moment.
  2. Group: Interview applicants from another group that completed the first exercise, to find the best new employee for Restaurant Moment based on the Restaurant’s mission.
  3. Group or individual: Compare the way things are done in Restaurant Moment with your work experience and note the biggest differences and biggest similarities.
  4. Group or individual: Interview the manager of a local sustainable restaurant and make comparisons with Restaurant Moment.
  5. Group: Discuss and agree a strategy for how a restaurant with which you are familiar could come closer to the ideals expressed in the Restaurant Moment interview.


Using the approach described in the previous post, let’s now take a look at the field-specific and sustainability specific skills that could be adressed in this case study.

Field-specific: Cooking skills, waitressing abilities, managerial skills, financial management skills, personnel management skills

Sustainability: Fostering effective collaborative processes, making decisions based on the restaurant system as a whole, social justice, creative solutions to the issue of reducing waste.

After listening to the interview you can probably think of other pedagogical tasks as well as relevant skills that could arise from this case.

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