Wild news! I have been chosen to be a guest chef/blogger by the travel site, Visit Helsinki.com. As many of you know who follow me, Helsinki is my home away from home and has been for nearly 20 years. The last ten years has been very crucial for Helsinki creating a surprisingly new European travel destination with a burgeoning food scene.
Here is an opening quote from the very exciting email I received from the Visit Helsinki tourism board: “Hello from Helsinki! I’m delighted to inform you, Franco, that you have been selected as one of the residents at the #HelsinkiSecret Residence! You applied for a stay in summer 2016 and I am thrilled to tell you that your wish will come true.” Pretty cool, no? So, as the saying goes – good things come to those that wait.
I’ve watched this city turn from a sleeper into a secret gem. Amazingly, during the last 10 years, Helsinki has finally broken free from its cocoon and is enjoying a beautiful transformation. Today, this city shines brightly and has become a beacon of curiosity for travelers who have decided to put aside their traditional European travel plans and head north. Yes, Helsinki you did it! You took your time and blossomed beautifully over the last decade. Now after so many years of boasting about what a great place you are, you’re now proving me right. What a dramatic change, and, boy, am I proud of you!
As a chef, I can tell you that Helsinki has absolutely grown by leaps and bounds in a foodie way. What used to be a culinary desert in terms of foodie oriented,has now become a culinary oasis for Finland with a blossoming food scene. The city now is home to a total of four Michelin one star restaurants and some fantastic chefs; this is where you begin to see the great culinary metamorphosis that has taken place. New Nordic cuisine is a hot food trend in the culinary world, and I’m glad to say that Helsinki now offers visitors some tasteful opportunity to experience it, too.
Also, there are many vibrant food events throughout the year in the city and these food festivals just keep on growing. An example would be Helsinki’s Restaurant Day, a day when restaurants, food brands and home cooks alike can basically pitch a tent, cook it up and introduce their specialties to the public. This concept originated in Helsinki and has now turned into a global phenomenon. It’s a great story that you can check out here.
I head out to Helsinki in early July, just in time for summer in the land of the midnight sun! My time working with the Visit Helsinki team and living at the Secret Residence will be to showcase all things food oriented. I’ll be meeting and interviewing chefs, blogging about summertime food festivals (such as the famous crayfish festival), visiting several food markets, making trips to the neighboring islands near Helsinki to report on their culinary delicacies, taking a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia on the St. Peters Line and much more. This trip will be educational and full of flavorful surprises. All being great reasons to Visit Helsinki. So, please stay tuned and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank You! (Kiitos) Now you just had your first Finnish lesson.