2 Michelin Star Chefs: Mickael Viljanen, head chef, The Greenhouse, Dublin

The  Staff Canteen

Mickael Viljanen is head chef at two michelin-starred dublin restaurant, The Greenhouse.

Mickael Viljanen was born in Finland, but made the decision to go to catering college instead of university. Later, he worked on a cruise ship, landing a head chef position at the age of 23 in a restaurant called PK’s in his home city of Pori in Finland.

The Greenhouse

Joshua House, 21 Dawson St, Dublin 2, D02 TK33, Ireland

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday Lunch 12.00 – 2.00pm; Dinner 6.00 – 9.30pm

Tel: +353 1 676 7015

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.thegreenhouserestaurant.ie

Head Chef: Mickael Viljanen

Instagram: @_the_greenhouse

Twitter: @_the_greenhouse

Biography

Mickael spent four years working as the executive chef at Gregans Castle, a Georgian-style house situated near the village of Ballyvaughan in County Claire.

Before this, Mickael worked with Paul Flynn at The Tannery in County Waterford. 

Mickael joined The Greenhouse in Dublin in 2012, established by his business partner and restaurateur Eamonn O’Reily - who is also behind the Dublin restaurant One Pico.

The Greenhouse is a small restaurant with small menus. They open five days a week for lunch and dinner, and serve up to 45 covers.

Food Style

Mickael has an unusual food style, combining Finnish and Irish cooking techniques to produce a style like no other. As his food is innovative, it is like no other restaurant in the capital city.

Often creating dishes in the moment, Mickael tends to use whatever is available that he can get his hands on. In his restaurant he offers three different types of menus: a surprise menu, a seven course menu and a set menu - the most popular out of the three being the surprise menu.

The dishes often change and menus are tailored to suit what produce is available at the time. Although Mickael combines many different styles of food, he maintains that it's neither Finnish, French nor Irish,  merely a bit of everything all mixed into one.

Michelin star

The Greenhouse was awarded a star in the Michelin Guide 2016things finally came good for the man regarded by many as the most talented chef in the country.

In the same guide, other chefs working in Ireland and awarded stars for the first time included Enda McEvoy of Loam in GalwayStevie Toman at OX and Danni Barry, then head chef at Deanes Eipic. In 2019 Mickael and his team received a second star in the Michelin Guide 2020.

What the guides say

Michelin Guide

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Finnish cooking and techniques

A lot of the cooking has strong acidic and sweet flavours running through it, which is common in Finnish cooking. It’s what Mickael is used to eating and what he likes to cook.

There’s no particular influence; yes, there are certain elements of cooking or flavours that Mickael likes from home, but the restaurant isn’t dictated by Finnish or Irish cooking. They buy the best ingredients, at the best time, and try to treat them well. It’s not rocket science, no molecular gastronomy. It is about decent food and decent service.

Sourcing produce

Mickael says having soil on a carrot doesn’t make it a better carrot. If it’s a good carrot, it’s a good carrot. If the local produce is better, then he will use local produce; if it’s better somewhere else then he’ll buy that. He wants to buy the best produce, wherever it is. Of course, he cares where things come from: they don’t use battery chickens, bad beef, but says 'does it really matter if it comes from 20km down the road or 120km?' 

The Greenhouse

Everything changes; everything progresses naturally. Mickael might like something for two weeks, then move on to the next thing. In an interview with The Staff Canteen, he said: "Maybe there’s an element of what I do that stays the same, but it’s unconscious: the flavours or the way we use the produce – maybe you can see a running theme in our food. I wouldn’t say I’ve settled, I don’t know if you can ever be settled, or if I would want to be. Especially as we’re offering small menus, we have to keep them moving all the time.  Yes, you find a way you like to work, you work on the dishes, you put out dishes that you’re proud of and that you like, but you’re always pushing, always developing, changing – it’s constant movement."

Videos with Mickael Viljanen:

 

 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th October 2019

2 Michelin Star Chefs: Mickael Viljanen, head chef, The Greenhouse, Dublin