Ikarus last June

Photo: Santeri Stenvall

Hangar-7 is a building at Salzburg Airport that houses Red Bull aircrafts and a huge collection of Formula 1 race cars. Surprisingly enough, Hangar-7 also has a restaurant called Ikarus, that has a unique concept to it: each month it has a new menu as it hosts a different international guest chef.

The top chefs fly to Austria and showcase a menu of their own and introduce their haute-cuisine to the local food enthusiasts. No matter what country they come from or language they speak, each month is full of different flavors, cultures and high-quality ingredients. With the help of the local kitchen team, they create something extraordinary. Needless to say, I was super excited when we were contacted by Ikarus and asked to come over and create our own menu for the month of June. Let me share my experience with you.

Photo: Santeri Stenvall

After we got the generous invite, we started planning our menu and the trip to Austria. This was about a year ago. The idea was to cook our signature dishes, and to put together a good introduction to the Nordic cuisine. The menu included dishes like our pike-perch mosaic and potato sour bread.

A month before the trip, we were visited by Ikarus’ Executive Chef, Martin Klein. He is the team leader of the Ikarus concept and his experience goes over borders. He’s the conductor of the show and the man, who puts his soul into the restaurant. To me, he was (and still is) like a mentor and a friend, who I am happy to work with anytime in the future. During his stay, I got the chance to introduce him to our food philosophy and have test our Ikarus menu in advance.

As part of the concept, a documentary film was shot during his visit. The documentary opened up my sources of inspiration and introduced viewers to our team. During the special visit, I got to show Chef Klein and his camera crew, about my every day life. We had walks in the forest near my home in Kivenlahti, by the sea in the Espoo seaside and spent lots and lots of time in the kitchens of Olo. (The link to the video is at the bottom of this post.)

Photo: Santeri Stenvall

The time came to head over to Austria. Me and my colleagues Lari Helenius and Kim Mustonen packed our bags and took the plane. The restaurant itself was located near the airport so we got to put on our chef jackets and head to the kitchen as soon as we got there. The premises were amazing and so was the local team. 18 chefs were running the kitchen and we knew we’re gonna have an amazing month. And we sure did.

We had a mix of local ingredients and special ingredients, that we had shipped over. Ingredients like reindeer tongue, reindeer heart and liquorice. We only faced one challenge. The potatoes. See, the sour potato bread is made of Lappish potatoes, and those were impossible to ship over. I even thought we will not be able to make the bread at all. I might event lost a night of sleep because of it. However, Lari took the situation and turned it into an experiment, that eventually turned out better than we ever thought it would. The local potatoes work really well for us and each and every service was a success.

All in all, the dishes came out great and the team work I experienced was amazing. It was great to see how well everyone worked together, even if they’d never met each other before. Every now and then, I sneaked out from the kitchen to chat with the customers and hear their thoughts. The feedback we got was excellent and we got to serve our menu to many different kinds of customers. I even chatted with a family that flies in every month just to try out the current guest chef menu. That’s impressive!

Looking back at our pop up in Ikarus, I cannot feel anything but gratitude. It is a huge honor to be invited to another country to show, what we do here. A huge thanks goes to the team Ikarus but I can’t thank my colleagues Lari and Kim enough. They always had my back when I had to run around doing interviews and shooting. Thank you guys!

Here’s the documentary for you to watch.
WATCH VIDEO: https://bit.ly/2HypFyH

The Ikarus cookbook can be purchased here.
BUY BOOK: https://bit.ly/2FZDxkK


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