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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chef Gero Hottinger declares love for Finnish cuisine in his new book -Simply Delicious!

9036_dsc00983_1Gero Hottinger has just published a new cookbook about Finnish cuisine called Simply Delicious!. It is an ode to his key philosophy, using local ingredients of the season, rather than flying exotic stuff halfway around the world. Fresh ingredients are the basis of any good dish and Gero is an expert in making the best of what you have. In his view Finland is full of exotic ingredients and they should be used.
Gero is a German, who immigrated to Finland in the 60's. Working at premier restaurants like Savoy and founder of Kanavaranta he has during 30 years been able help sharpen the taste buds of Finns from sausage and mustard lovers to gourmets enjoying fish creations or even getting them to love dishes like tar ice cream, yes the stuff you cover wooden boats with.

After selling the legendary Kanavaranta he decided to focus on cuisine training, for individuals, which he pioneered with Helsingin Kulinaarinen Instituutti in Finland. I have been using it for team building, and it works very well. His witty humor understanding the subtle characteristics of Finns mixed with haute cuisine makes a base for a memorable evening.

His cooking school did not seem to be enough and last summer he decided to open a restaurant about 200km north of Helsinki in the Tampere area, which should be an interesting excursion for anyone heading into Finland, it is probably the last place to have a great meal before heading into endless forest of central Finland….

I have been a fan of him and his former partner Eero Mäkelä for a long time. I met them through my father who has worked with them by documenting their food in two cookbooks, one you can read about here. I have eaten numerous times at his restaurant and I have been cooking from his books with success.

Simply Delicious! is an evolution in presentation simplification, food with consistent strong lightning from the back adding a napkin to soften up the tableware where food is in sharp focus. I like this style, but I miss some of  the lavish shots with rich context with lots of food, found in earlier books they done together. In Simply Delicious! the context is brought by having Gero go into Finnish nature to collect fresh ingredients, I think the shots are credible having heard him praise local ingredients for years. The dishes are not overly complicated for the amateur chef. I have made the beetroot and basil soup a few times and I like it a lot, so if you are into food pick up a copy for your library.

11:06 PM in Restaurants | Permalink


I have had the pleasure to visit Kulinaarinen Instituutti with evenings cuisine training.

I had a good time and realized that even I can make delicious food with (even the simplest of ingredeants).

No small accomplishment from Gero!

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