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Back to School: Finnish School lunch celebrated at MoMA - Embassy of Finland, Washington - Consulate Generals of Finland, New York, Los Angeles : Current Affairs


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News, 10/3/2012

Back to School: Finnish School lunch celebrated at MoMA

Part of the Museum of Modern Art’s café will transform to a school cafeteria serving Finnish school lunch in October. The Back to School: A Taste of Finland program will run for the first two weeks in October and is organized in conjunction with MoMA’s exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000. This special lunch program gives guests an opportunity to savor Finnish school lunch favorites such as salmon soup and macaroni casserole while chatting in an intimate setting with the exhibition curator and the chef.

Aidan O´ConnorCurator Aidan O'connor tels about the Back to School: Taste of Finland lunch. Photo Oknim Jo

Finland is consistently recognized for excelling in all aspects of public education. A factor, which may be often unrecognized, is the importance of nutritious school lunches. Finland was the first country in the world to serve free, regulated school meals to children on a large scale, beginning in 1948. Today, Finnish students are able to enjoy balanced meals of local and inexpensive ingredients that provide both energy and educational value, every day at school.

Facts about Finnish school meals

  • A traditional Finnish school lunch consists of: warm main course, vegetable side dish, bread with spread and a berry or fruit dessert if the nutritional value of the main course is not substantial enough.
  • The Finnish school lunch follows a model where ¼ of the meal consist of protein, ¼ of carbohydrates and the remaining half of the plate is reserved for vegetables.
  • The average ingredient cost for Finnish school lunch is around 77 cents (0,60 €) per meal and the average cost for the whole meal including labor costs etc. is $3.20 (2,5 €)
  • By the time children graduate from high school they have enjoyed over 2,100 free school meals.
  • The current school lunch favorites of Finnish children are: Lasagna, Finnish macaroni casserole, spinach crepes and meatballs. 
  • The guidelines for the nutritional values of the Finnish school meal are very similar to current guidelines set for the school lunches in New York City.
  • Chef Petteri LuotoChef Petteri luoto explains the food items at the lunch menu


6-8 years     550 cal
9-12 years    650 cal 

13-15 years    740 cal
16-18 years    860 cal

New York City

Primary school 550-650 cal 

Middle school 600-700 cal

High School 750-850 cal 

The Back to School: A Taste of Finland is realized in conjunction with the exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 at MoMA as a collaborative effort by the exhibition curators, MoMA’s Cafe 2, and the Consulate General of Finland.  The menu for Back to School: A Taste of Finland is created by Chef Petteri  Luoto, one of Finland’s most celebrated chefs, and realized in collaboration with Chef Lynn Bound of Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at MoMA. Finn Crisp, Finlandia Cheese, Marimekko and The Nordic Breads have generously supported the event.

Come and experience the Finnish school lunch at MoMA! Please note that the space at Café 2 is limited; reservations and advance payment are required.

Finnish School lunch at MoMAFood at the school lunch

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
October 1-12, 2012
at 12 pm


Café 2
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd street, New York, NY 10019

For more information and reservations:


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Updated 10/3/2012

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