I’m currently working at Perho Culinary, Tourism & Business College and have Master’s Degree in Food Culture & Communications. At Perho, I work as a lecture and educational technology development manager. I teach courses such as: information technology, cultural communication, profitable restaurant operation and sustainable gastronomy for Finnish and English speaking students. I’m also a Master beekeeper, leader of our sustainable developmental team, a member of curriculum developmental team. I’m actively searching and developing variety of sustainable practices & projects; building networks within skilled professionals and organizations.
I started my Educational Technology Master’s studies through on-line at the University of Jyväskylä in Autumn 2015. My goal is to graduate with Master’s in Educational Technology (Koulutusteknologian maisteriohjelma) by the year 2018.
sustainable project development
In 2015, I became involved in Education project of Wild Food from Finland. This pilot course organized at Helsinki Culinary School Perho will educate food professionals to the world of wild edible foods.
In 2013, I became involved in honey beekeeping project, together with other five beekeepers at Perho. Currently there are four beehives providing local honey for our teaching kitchens and teaching restaurant at Perho.
Nordic Ecolabel was issued to the Restaurant Perho in 2010, and we are currently renewing the license. In 2012, Helsinki Culinary School Perho received the sustainable development certification (OKKA-institution). The main aims of this certification system are: development of the quality of teaching, learning environment and operation of educational establishment; implementation of education for sustainable development in teaching and school culture with a comprehensive approach.
In 2013, I also started Community Supported Agriculture project between Perho and the local Co-Operative Farm, CSA group of Herttoniemi, in Helsinki. Through this project, our students have a practical way to learn the origin of food. They have a possibility to attend the farm work and collect fresh & seasonal ingredients (from Farm to Table). In 2014, I also started co-operative farm project with a local apple orchard, Råbäck Gård.
young student – world traveller – my food culture
I left Finland to study abroad when I was 17 years old; as a brave and young explorer, I remained working in the restaurant field. Most of my career jobs include positions such as: cook, executive chef, catering manager, restaurant owner and culinary instructor.
While living abroad, in the year 2000, I happened to read some articles about Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG). These articles intrigued me to continue furthering my career skills within the world of gastronomic studies: to learn more about the origin of foods, the artisanal methods of food production and variety of food cultures.
In 2005, I started bachelor of hospitality studies in Helsinki and graduated from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in 2008. In 2006, I started teaching at Helsinki Culinary School Perho.
In 2010 – 2011, I took one year study leave from work and decided to study at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. In 2011 I graduated with Master in Food Culture and Communication degree. As part of the Master studies, I was able to travel to many food production facilities (farms, restaurants, vineyards, bakeries, etc) within Europe. This allowed students to interview food producers and take photographs of variety of food; and of course, to eat wonderful food. Main aims of the study trips were to write articles about food & culture and to find unique ways to communicate about the identity & the origin of food (importance of biodiversity; heirloom varieties of vegetables & plants; pure breeds of domesticated animals; artisanal techniques of food production and farming methods).
In 2011, through my Master studies, I launched a new elective study module, called sustainable gastronomy, at Helsinki Culinary School Perho. The first ever in Finland!
During the course, students have chance to visit food producers and small/medium businesses. Local and sustainable foods are highlighted during the food preparations. On-the-job learning period in a sustainable restaurant operation is also included. The main aim of this study module is to provide future cooks and servers the skills to communicate about the origin of food and importance of biodiversity; to give skills for sustainable food production and basic knowledge of farming methods.
taste memories of Northern Carelia and sustainable food
I’m originally from the Northern Karelia region of eastern-Finland, where my parents still have a farm and a bakery. Food was always important and part of every day life at home. My mother and both grandmothers respected the local food culture; the products of the land, forest and the lakes. My grandmother’s home was filled with variety of curious scents of food. I remember the warm scents of freshly baked bread (rye bread, Carelian rice pies, and rye-flat bread filled with rice) and also the scents of a storage shed where fish used to be salted; and the scents of freshly smoked lake-perch. Most of the ingredients were grown on local fields, fish was caught from the lakes and berries picked from the local forests. There was no electricity or running water at my grandmother’s cottage; but, there was the real ‘smoke’ sauna. My interested towards the food & culture began from the family roots of Northern Karelia.
While living abroad in the United States, I was introduced to another colorful mixtures of food cultures, ingredients and food preparation techniques. Interest towards organic and sustainable food preparation and farming methods started there.
Childhood food memories and the professional culinary education and career experiences lead me in a path towards the sustainable gastronomy and organic farming.