Aki Hiltunen

Official Ambassador for Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021

Aki Hiltunen


VS Restaurants: Restaurant Fonte & TehoWatti


What are you known for?


I am proud to say that this year marks our 15th year as an entrepreneur in the restaurant industry. I do a lot of catering gigs, so you may have seen me at home, in business premises, at parties or in the garden. In 2017, I was in Brussels cooking and presenting the dishes and flavours of North Savo to a European jury. The journey went well as we are the first Finnish region to receive the Region of Gastronomy Award.


What is your favourite flavour memory?


Fresh ingredients that have been grown during the right season create best flavour memories. For example, if you catch a pike-perch from Lake Syvärijärvi yourself, it is a great fish and a great experience that you will cherish for a long time. For me, gastronomy is a way of life that includes both work and hobbies. It can include barbequing in the backyard all year round or combining a good drink with food.


What inspires you?


Anything can give you inspiration – even an empty fridge. A single vegetable or ingredient can be a source of inspiration that you start building your menu around.


What is unique about the North Savo region and food culture?


We have a wide variety of different and extremely high-quality ingredients. North Savo is such a treasure that provides a whole spectrum of food from the field to the plate. It is worth exploring the region’s restaurants and natural ingredients, as there are many different gems across North Savo.


What food related secret would you like to share?


You should buy organic eggs from the Laitilanmäki organic shop. They are delicious. The egg yolk is almost creamy. When the eggs are combined with Valio organic whole milk, you get soft-textured scrambled eggs that can be finalised with cold smoked horse and chives flowers.


What kind of local gastronomic item would you bring as gifts?


Flour from Siilin Mylly mill, with a recipe for malt bread.


Text: Oodia/Heta Jyrälä

Aki Hiltunen, Chef of VS Restaurants