For my beloved Brother who introduced me to the art of cooking, who taught me how to taste and truly love food. Without him I'd never be able to be where I am today.

August 20, 2012

Laughter, Tears and Deliciousness

A small step for human kind, a big step for little me: Yesterday, after having successfully executed a mini project, the one-day pop-up restaurant gØtt, I went to bed tired but extremely happy.

gØtt what was what my Italian project partner Veronica and I contributed to Restaurant Day. Since its first edition in May 2011 in Helsinki the concept, a Finnish to begin with, has become a global culinary carnival where passionate foodies like myself can test their wings as restaurateurs for one day. How does it work? It’s simple. Anyone can set up any type of restaurant, café or what-have-you anywhere they want, at any time of day. In a country like Finland, where starting any food related business officially and legally is a hand full, this type of occasion is really something special. One of the most fun ideas I’ve encountered is to sell small sweet and salty snacks from the fifth floor window of someone’s kitchen by transporting the goods to the hungry customers via rope and pulley.

Our idea was also original and well thought out. gØtt truly was a child of love for both Veronica and I. I was a Restaurant Day rookie, Veronica had done it once before and knew the drill. gØtt however, was a first for both of us.  Veronica, who has a love for design and fashion, and I who live for food and food culture, made a perfect team for Restaurant Day. Four days prior to D-day, we put our creative heads together in order to make our little dream come true. 

Step by step, starting from the smallest detail, we came up with a whole concept that we christened gØtt. When we first met in Helsinki, Veronica and I were both studying in Sweden. Both of us used the Swedish word for good – gott. Swedes from Gothenburg pronounce it not with o [o] but with a [ö] – a phoneme, which is probably unfamiliar to you who have no experience of a Nordic language… gØtt sounded good, it looked good, it was gött. The Norwegian letter ø gave it aesthetics that pleased our eye ;)

Because both Veronica and I are totally loyal to our ethics and morals when it comes to food and our surroundings, we also wanted gØtt to reflect that as clearly as possible. Not only did the food need to be delicious and all homemade, it also had to be nature friendly and good-looking. I can’t tell you how many told us that we’re going way too far and aiming way too high. For us, it was all or nothing, so we remained firm regardless of critical feedback. 

Planning the menu made up the core our yummy project. What to cook!? It had to be easy, fast, efficient, take-away friendly, just to name a few criteria. And did I mention it had to absolutely delicious? After hours of twisting and turning each idea upside down and inside out, here’s what we came up with:


gØtt Rolls with Finnish Aura Blue Cheese, Pears, Spicy Pork & Sweet Prunes Sauce
(A very special and warm thank you to my beloved friend Tif Audubert a.k.a my recipe bank)

Sesame Cabbage Crunch 
Coconut & Curry Lentil Velouté 
Homemade Focaccia al Rosmarino 

Blueberries, Yoghurt, Toasted Almonds & Oat Flakes 

Elderflower Lemonade & Blackcurrants 
Mint Water with Apples

Everything actually tasted as delicious as it seems, I must say. And I can tell you, we didn’t take the easy way out. We didn’t cheat, nor give up when it got tough. And in the end it was a great success, even if it didn’t seem that way at 7 am on Sunday morning when we woke up to cook and prepare the restaurant for 40 customers.

All in all, after ripping my white sheets into 40 cotton napkins, painting 40 gØtt stencils on them, and sewing nice borders on them, collecting 40 glass jars from neighbors and friends and attaching labels to them, digging in trash containers and the recycle center for pillows and curtains, tieing pallets, huge metal frames, old luggage and other “decorations” onto a bike and transporting it all through Helsinki, I think I speak on behalf of both of us that we did us proud. A lot of tears, but even more laughter came out of this experience. The most important thing is that we did it and that we did it exactly as we wanted.

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