Food on the Edge 2016: Sasu Laukkonen

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th October 2016

Next in our series of Food on the Edge 2016 festival chefs is Sasu Laukkonen who is chef patron of Restaurant Chef & Sommelier in Helsinki.

The restaurant holds one star in the Nordic Michelin Guide which it achieved in 2014 and Sasu's ethos focuses on organic and wild produce, but he also uses natural ingredients and fairtrade ingredients. The Staff Canteen spoke to him about why speaking at Food on the Edge is a huge honour, taking responsibility for what goes on people's plates and why JP McMahon is the man!

Chef & Sommelier

Sasu Laukkonen says his restaurant Chef & Sommelier has brought two things to the Helsinki restaurant scene: 'First of all, supply to the organic dining demand and secondly one can enjoy handmade cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere'.

His cuisine is ambitious, pure in taste, all handmade and original and Sasu says: "It's made from my point of view and coming from my heart since I am mostly a self taught chef. Finesse-dining is what I want to have customers experience: personal, open and stylish cuisine, ambience and service every day, every time. The term is my own to use and to follow."

This is not his first visit to Galwayas he attended Food on the Edge last year and he has cooked at organiser JP McMahon's restaurant,  Aniar. He said:  "I’m looking forward to seeing all of my friends in Galway, they are very special people."

>>> Find out more about some of the chefs in this year's Food on the Edge line up here

He added: "Personally I’m going because I was asked to go and it is a huge honor for me. On another note I feel that this festival has a lot to offer to us pros but also to real people."

Sasu's discussion is based around producing food sustainablyand he explains: "Sustainable has become more of a trendy word nowadays – people who use the word are not always aware what it means for real.

"For me the reality is that the more pesticides we use in farming, the more possible it is for the people eating this produce can get ill. Simple? Yes, but also if you think about the soil you use for farming it is very unhealthy for it too. And I know that this sounds quite horrible but that’s the whole point I think. We are thinking about now and the future. Not just this moment.

"Fish, natural resources, wild plants, mushrooms, berries I mean come on – why would we only use our planet and not keep it going? What is the card deck holding for our kids? Or our grandkids?"

He added: "There is only one way of doing this. Voting with your wallet. Say no and act accordingly."

Sasu's main food focus is wild and organic produce something he says was in place when they opened in 2010 and everything that has followed 'has come very naturally into our game' and it's something he hopes more restaurants will adopt.

"I sure hope that the majority would start using veg that is from root to leaf usable for food, yes," he explianed. "But having said  that anything without pesticides is a good choice since we feed people, not ourselves so we need to be responsible for what we put on the plate."

His ethos is something he actively encourages in his own young chefs and as he says 'talking helps broaden minds' where better than the Food on the Edge symposiam to do this and in turn educate more people.

"All this can be achieved by educating and acting. Talking helps broaden minds but we need serious actions to take things further.

"I have so many of my cooks go further and I’ve gotten pretty sad phonecalls from them after about how other restaurants do things… unfortunately."

He explained: "We need to show them and make them realise that there is an option, they will make their own choices anyway."

There are many chefs on this year's line up who Sasu is looking forward to meeting and listening too and he has full admiration for JP McMahon for making it happen for a second year.

"He is the man!" Said Sasu. "The underdog he was last year and I really admire him for how he just makes things happen. Sincerity and honesty clearly seems to be the way to do things."

Ticket prices for the two day event includes lunch on both days, entry to Monday night party where the audience gets to meet and mingle with speakers. Tickets can be purchased from www.foodontheedge.ie

For a full List of confirmed Food On The Edge Speakers for 2016 visit: http://www.foodontheedge.ie/speakers.html 

>>> Read more on Food on the Edge 2016

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th October 2016

Food on the Edge 2016: Sasu Laukkonen