This year’s Bocuse d’Or team highlights Finnish flavours, top ingredients, and world-class design. The European qualification round of the international gastronomic competition is being held in Turin, Italy on 11-12 June. Finland’s aim in this round is to gain one of the top three spots.
Finland is sending a top-notch team to the culinary contest in Turin. Finland’s representative Ismo Sipeläinen, 27, is a seasoned contestant with previous success in international competitions, including winning the Chef of the Year contest in Finland in 2015. Sipeläinen’s assistant Johan Kurkela, 21, has competed successfully in both Finnish and international contests for early career chefs.
The president and jury member of the Finnish team is the experienced Bocuse d’Or participant and coach Matti Jämsén. The team’s head coach is the previous edition’s representative, chef Eero Vottonen from the Palace restaurant in Helsinki. The second coach is chef Kalle Tanner from Villa Störsvik in Siuntio, Finland. Tanner was in the training team for Finland also during the last edition of Bocuse d’Or.
Flavours from the Finnish spring
The host region in Italy is Piemonte, and the mandatory ingredients chosen for the participants reflect the culinary traditions of this part of the country. The dish served on a tray in the contest must include filet of Fassona Piemontese beef, Sant’Andrea rice, and sweetbread.
The tray task requires that each participant country showcases their own local culinary culture. The contestants’ abilities to highlight their home country’s identity will effect the scoring.
– When planning the dishes, we take into account that the Fassona Piemontese filet is a very low-fat cut and reminiscent of veal, and it cannot support very strong side dishes. This ingredient goes well with mild and bright flavours, which also fits the season: regarding ingredients, this time of year is actually still late spring in Finland.
– We are still building up the composition of the dishes, but I can safely say that we are heading to Turin with a bag full of Finnish vegetables and herbs that are bursting with spring flavours. Our tray will have a world of tastes condensing the long bright days of the early summer in Finland, says Ismo Sipeläinen.
Highlighting Finnish design
Finland’s team at Bocuse d’Or will also place an emphasis on design know-how: the tray dish in the contest will be presented on a one-of-a-kind design item. Finland’s team is collaborating for the first time with students from Aalto University. The design process of the tray is led by designer-sculptor Pekka Paikkari, who has previously designed five distinct trays for Finland’s gastronomic team.
The tray is designed by two young talents who complement each other: Bachelor in Design degree student Laura Meriluoto and Master’s in Industrial Design degree student Klaudia Kasprzak. Meriluoto and Kasprzak have turned to Finnish nature in search of inspiration for the design language. Meriluoto has examined the topic as a native Finn who grew up surrounded by nature, and as an exchange student, Kasprzak’s has fresh, curious appreciation of her new environment .
Kuva Aleksi Tuomola