Official Ambassador for Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021
Restaurants: Restaurants Isä Camillo, Café Kantti, Casino Peräniemen Kasino, Kuopion Klubi, Maxim, Musta Lammas and Pannuhuone Gust. Ranin & Puijo restaurants
What are you known for?
I am known as the CEO of Ravintolamestarit, a cuddler and a person who is working in her vocational calling. It has also spawned recognitions, such as the awards Savon Nainen (Savonian woman) 2021 and Vuoden Mirkku 2019 for marketing people. I am very flattered by all the recognitions. I am especially proud of the honourable mention of the Vuoden Nuori Johtaja (Young Director of the Year) 2020, as it requires referrals from one’s own workplace. It is great that my own team believes in what we do, and that we also got public recognition for it.
What is your favourite flavour memory?
I lived in Ireland as a child, and already at the age of four, I was in love with mussels. I learned at a young age that all the best flavours on the plate are local. It is always worth trying out a local food culture and local ingredients.
What inspires you?
Doing things together and innovating are the best things on the planet! I live and breath gastronomy both at work and in my free time. All my journeys revolve around gastronomy, which also includes culture, arts and people in addition to food. The people around me give me inspiration.
What is unique about the North Savo region and food culture?
The best thing in the region is the power of nature and the communality of those who work with food. The producers are passionate and do it all for the love of food. The different microclimates in the region enable extensive harvests from lakes to forests, fields and gardens. Here all the flavours intertwine with local produce.
What food related secret would you like to share?
Did you know that rosebay willowherb is as delicious as asparagus?
What kind of local gastronomic item would you bring as gifts?
Three local gems in one package: Record Coffee Company’s Puijo 1963 coffee, Kuopio honey from the Virtala farm and two mugs from Taito Shop. Come for a visit – we love the region, and I am sure that you will too.
Text: Oodia/Heta Jyrälä
Eeva Mertanen, CEO at Ravintolamestarit, Founder of Makugassi ry