Get To Know Tiril Refsum, She's the Founder, Owner and CEO of OSLO RAW!

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I had a lovely chat with Tiril Refsum, the power-woman behind one of Oslos most popular raw food cafés, OSLO RAW! Three years ago she drove her bike all over Oslo selling raw cakes and baking at home alone. Today, she’s a 27 year old happy owner of a raw cake bakery with 28 employees. In addition, she’s opening another café and launching her second cookbook this spring!

Talking Oslo Raw 

Tell us, how did the Oslo Raw-adventure start? 

It started way back when I was a a little girl dreaming about eating cake for breakfast. Many years later, as I turned 19, I got burned out after years of pushing too hard, and little self care. I had a terrible time at that point and it forced me to start looking after myself. I discovered the wonders of plant based food and especially raw cakes. The dream of eating cake for breakfast suddenly became close. My passion for raw food and treats stayed as a private hobby for some time. I developed my own recipes and gave raw food workshops in my living room. I educated my self as a raw food chef, and began to give speeches and raw food classes in Finland and Sweden as well. I remember I couldn’t stop baking, it was so much fun! Sharing my passion for plants brought life back to me and before I knew it, my first Oslo Raw café opened November 2016. 

Being a female CEO in Norway, do you think you’re faced with any specific challenges or advantages? 

I am doing my own thing and experience a well of positivity from all angles to be honest. I have found my passion and I’m very clear of who I am and what the Oslo Raw brand stands for. I think Norway is hungry for sustainable creative businesses with a unique way of doing things. The challenges are many too, for all CEOs, men or women. The biggest challenge I face is the internal ones as doubt, and fear of failing as well as growing big. These traits are seen more often in women than in men. Here is our biggest job; to overcome our pattern of staying small and not putting ourselves out there. I belive Norway is ready for female CEOs, but my question is, are we? 


What are your future plans for Oslo Raw?

To open many more cafes globally, write more books about food as well as self development and wellness. Keep building our commity and team. And continue to give speeches and lecturers on team building, female entrepreneurship, nourishment and self development. 


What are your best advices for those wanting to launch a business themselves? 

Firstly be sure you love what you’re creating and how you’re doing it. Secondly, team up with people who complement you. Be open for failure and never give up anyway. Dig deep into yourself and expand within by exploring the deeper layers of who you are. Work from a place within that is highly concious and make all your decisions based on your highest values. Go with your gut feeling and trust your intuition. And above all; enjoy the ride! 

Talking healthy eating 

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Have you always been passionated about eating healthy?

Yes, but from different angles in me. Before I got bured out I was mostly interested in eating perfectly and controlled. I admit there was little pleasure involved in this period. To put it this way, the mind was in charge, and we all know there is little pleasure in following the head. Having it done all perfectly and still not being happy and ending up burned out, I figured the old way didn’t work any longer. I was hungry for the juicyness of life and began to listen to another intelligence within. Self nourishment and pleasure became my new way of eating healthy. This is a much less controlled way of dealing with food. This is the body’s way. And its much more fun!  


At Oslo Raw you serve organic, vegan & raw food. What are the perks of eating this?

Raw living foods are packed with nutrients, as heating plants can destroy the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibres. Plants are powerful foods and we need a lot of them to function. Alongside being nutrient dense, the tastes are incomparable. When I eat our Nourish Salad Bowl, I’m not thinking this is healthy, Im all about the rich flavours and the wellness I feel inside after eating it. 

What are your best advices for those finding it hard to implement healthy eating in their lifestyle?

Make it easy and tasty. Start the day with hot chocolate with coconut oil, almond butter and spices. Try a chia pudding with berries or a raw brownie for breakfast. Eat a salad for lunch, as a meal alone or alongside your favourite dish. Add some sprouts in any savoury meal or in your smoothie. Snack on carrots, cucumber, paprika and celery with a herb dip, guacamole or hummus. 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Only one? Does brownie count? 


Talking self-love 

When you’re not thinking about or working with Oslo Raw, what do you like to do?

Being with my man and doing nothing. I love just letting time pass by and doing small stuff as reading magazines, soaking in my hot tub, walking in the forest. Now I’m dreaming about a little puppy! I will let you know when she’s with me! 


How do you practice self love?

Being present for me and checking in on how I feel and what I need. Sometimes that’s asking for help, other times its being alone taking care of myself. Either way, self love is about being ok with who I am and giving my self what I need to feel well. Not trying to change who I am gives me a lot of relief. Trying to be perfect creates the opposite; stress and distance to myself. Self love is being vulnerable and intimate with myself and others. My relationship is my barometer and a reflection of how much I love myself. Any distance within the relationship, I am surly distanced to myself. Self love is the root of basically all good external stuff. 


What is true beauty in your opinion?

For me, beauty happens when we relax in ourselves and enjoy our life. There’s very little effort in that beauty, no pretendance or polish, only essence. I see this in people when we are emotionally avlaibale, vulnerable and present. Like a little child, a woman just given birth or two friends enjoying each other’s stillness. There’s more beauty than anything else in this world. 


What makes you happy? 

Being happy with my self and enjoying my contribution in the world. Being creative and be in a team with people I love. Also I feel happy  when I care less about the drama of the mind and my worrying.

Can you share your favourite quote? 

Everything in our life is a reflection of our inner state. 


Talking culture 

You’re showing people around in Oslo who’ve never been here before, where do you take them?

Ok, so we start with a gentle yoga session at HiYoga and follow up with brunch at Oslo Raw. After a few hours with lots of cakes and coffee, we grab a couple of bikes and drive around town. We drop by Grünerløkka, Oslo Street food at Torggata, Vippa, the opera and end up at Aker Brygge. Here we buy an ice cream and sit in the sun for a while. We go home and change and continue with drinks at Miss Sophie Restaurant. We eat dinner at Le Benjamin and go out dancing somewhere cool later (if we feel like it) or we go home and make some brownies and watch a movie. 

When in need of some cultural input, what do you do? 

That would be seeing a movie or checking out new restaurants in town. I got to admit I love being at home and at the bakery. Not much of cultural explorer…

Can you share with us your favourite...

Museum? My favourite museum … when I go in Oslo I it would be the Henie Onstad museum or Astrup Fearnly. In Copenhagen its definintly Louisiana and when in NYC its Guggenheim. 

City? That would be Copenhagen and Paris. 

Song? I’m really love all the songs in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Have you seen it? It’s so light, fun and romantic. 

Artist? Melody Gardot and Ella Fitzgerald are my two favourites. 

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You can visit Oslo Raw at Ullevålsveien 82 in Oslo, and also - check them out on Instagram here!

All photos and styling by Line Dammen.

Written by Anine Netland Hulløen

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