Finnish Cuisine at North
The North Nordic Food Festival returned to New York City with an exclusive, private dinner by Finnish chef Sasu Laukkonen. Laukkonen’s specialty is new Nordic cuisine, his innovativeness garnered him his first Michelin star earlier this year at his Helsinki restaurant Chef & Sommelier.
“I was very surprised!” Laukkonen remarked. “It’s an incredible honor.”
Laukkonen is passionate about wild and organic food. He prides himself in being a ‘no waste chef’ who uses less than desirable cuts of meat like tongue, belly and leaves, barks and stems of plants.
The milieu of North is sustainability, freshness and originality. Nordic cuisine’s tenets are simple ingredients, clean flavor profiles and lots of seafood. The dinner was staged in a pop up restaurant on Bowery Street in downtown Manhattan. Finnish ingredients were served in their simplicity with Laukkonen’s inventive culinary twists.
Helena Niskanen, marketing representative for Visit Finland admitted that she was worried about all those ingredients making it through U.S Customs. “Sasu wanted us to eat the best Finnish food tonight so he brought over some key ingredients. I was relieved when he emerged from customs with no problem.”
The highlight of the night was the sea buckthorn berry. Bright orange welcome drinks made with crushed berry, Finlandia vodka and Sprite were delightful libations. The Finns sing sea buckthorn berry’s praises because of its high Vitamin C content and anti-oxidant properties.
Before sitting down to dinner guests were treated to confit salmon and golden caviar on top of rye crisps and cracked black pepper cod hors d’ oeuvres. The highly anticipated five courses set menu specially prepared by the chef took a while to be served, but that whetted diner’s appetites. Each course was paired with a different wine to accentuate the delicate Finnish flavors.