Designer Dinner

I know, I know. You haven’t heard from me a while and I am fully aware of it. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, but quite the contrary. I’ve had some busy times lately and I promise tell you more about all of it. So bare with me! 😉

Where was I? Well, I’ve had some trips abroad, but mostly I’ve been working in Helsinki and Olo with some cool new things. Garden by Olo recently got a new menu and we’ve done cooperation with Helsinki Design Week and visiting chefs. Which is actually what I’m about to tell more about in this post.

It has recently been a hot topic, wether cooking and food can be art, and I find the question tricky too. What is art anyways? And is cooking a form of fine craftsmanship and can it be called art? I have given this some thought, and formed an opinion about it. I wouldn’t say I’m art-oriented in my work. But I admire and respect people with a passion and commitment for what they do. And this is what makes me admire artists so much. I really love watching documentaries and reading memoirs of those people, who have dedicated their life in doing what they love. These people let themselves be vulnerable and pour their heart into what they are creating, wether it is art or cooking. And this is what I call the art itself. In my opinion, it is more interesting, than the actual product of their creativity.

Kozeen Shiwan is a wonderfully talented Chef and Artist. I got to work with him at a pop-up we created together during Helsinki Design Week. And it was a great experience. It reminded me once again, how important thinking outside the box can be.

We met up before the event to discuss the menus and preparations. It was very easy to work with him and we learned a lot about each other in the process. We agreed on the type of menu we wanted to prepare for our guests and it hit me, how two Chefs of different age and style can work so smoothly on something so new. Everytime I work together with new people, new great things are born and I think that’s important in a Chef’s work. To be open to new things and perspectives and get away from that “bubble” you sometimes unintentionally are stuck in.

Photo by Natalia Salmela /

Kozeen was fully in charge of the visuals, and he spent many hours on planning it. The pop up was opened a few weeks ago in our Creative Kitchen on Helenankatu 2, which I think was the perfect place for it. The atmosphere was intimate and Kozeen’s work on on the decoration made it even more special. We had our individual dishes in the menu, but we both did some slight modifications and changes of plating during the dinners. You know, when you’re in a creative flow, this mode where you get new ideas on the run, why not do what feels right? I’ve always wanted to have everything planned out and strictly stick with it until the end. but it was refreshing to be working this way for a change.

The experience gave me a lot. As a Chef and as a person. And based on the feedback, those two weekends were a success amongst our guests too. Kozeen is a rising new talent who’s not afraid to challenge himself and his audience in a pure and honest way. I can truly say, that I learned something from him and hope, that I was able to give something back as well. Learning is one of the greatest things in working together. I’m positive, that we’ll be back soon enough, working on some new menus and concepts. Helsinki Design Week is a great event and it gives a stage and a meeting point for people who have the courage to share their passion. And be vulnerable in a way that inspired others.

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