I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the continuous support for the past four years.
The seas were rough and the boat rocked, but we found land.
I came back to Finland from Copenhagen after my 4,5 year stint in Noma. The year was 2017 and I was eager, full of energy, with a vision and a mission. I was extremely eager to show and execute what I had learned the previous years traveling around the world with possibly the best team in the world. USA, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Europe, you name it - we crushed it! Like with every great story, there had to be ups and downs along the way, but mine surprised even the magician himself. I didn't realize the toll the prolonged travelling, long days and immense stress had put me thru.
Long story short. Decided to take a year off. Took a trip . Mind goes BOOM. Me go depressed.
September 2017. I gained weight and that stressed me out. At least I thought that was the main reason. I wanted to workout, but I was scared that I might die if I leave the house. Not kidding. I thought that I was going to die all the time. At one point I was so convinced about it I called my own mother to say goodbye to her, and my two brothers. That shit hit different. Still does. I asked my mom where have my superpowers gone, and what if I'll never get them back. I never thought that working over 16 hours a day for most of my adult life could have any impact on me. It was a hard part in my personal growth. Talking about all this back then more broadly was impossible. Today I know better.
First I didn't know what to do, so the logical thing was to return to the kitchen. See, that was the only thing that changed. For the first time of my life I didn't have any work lined up. So, I really thought that there was only two ways out, either dying or to start working again. Working seemed to ease my mind a little bit and I prescribed work to myself in small doses. After micro-dosing work for a while - I had a GREAT IDEA!
WHAT IF...I WOULD OPEN A RESTAURANT..this was in February 2018.
So I gathered a few of my friends and had a talk. The vision started to become into fruition in 2018 when we stumbled on the venue that later would become what we know as restaurant INARI in Helsinki. I actually said no to that venue on the first showing. Almost on the second as well. I mean..the place was a dump. There was no floor, just rubble. Creosote. Holes in the walls. There was nothing. Imagination was needed. Big time.
When we were looking for a venue that would suit our needs, I got told couple of "rules" or "advices" about restaurants in Helsinki by my elders.
1) Never open a restaurant where restaurant hasn't existed before.
2) Don't go too far from the center of the city.
3) You CANNOT make a restaurant from the scratch. Don't even think about it.
Well, this place, did not only tick one, but actually all the above listed boxes.
We put countless hours into getting the place ready and welcomed our first ever guests on the 5th of July in 2018. We welcomed our first and the last food critics 2 weeks after opening, July 2018. We welcomed our first Michelin inspector in November of 2018. We got our first Michelin star in February of 2020. We got to experience our first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.
During COVID-19 I started to spend a lot of time exploring my old drawings of projects that I never had time to think more before. I soon realised there is a lot of potential in me, superpowers of some some sort I guess, that had not been used until now. I had been too busy, tunnel visioned, with no time to pause for a sec. What is in the core of culinary experiences? What happens when a guest starts crying after finishing the menu or goes speechless. What is that all about in the end?
The last two years have been in a very sick way very helpful for my personal development. I have learned a lot about myself and started to not only dream about but to do bigger things. I have learned that to be able to focus you don't need to go tunnel visioned. In order to achieve great things you don't need to just work harder alone, but you need a network of complimentary skills around you. Only by accepting your own limitations and inspiring others around you to join your team you can build phenomenal things. Create experiences you earlier only could dream about.
This summer I was presented an opportunity to take our beloved restaurant INARI to the next level. It stopped me. I had been dreaming about developing it in its current location and by constant improvements here and there make it every season a bit better. After only a few nights of sleeping over it I was ready. It became clear to me that I am not a dreamer anymore. I have grown to be a visionary doer with an insanely talented team around me supporting to achieve the most imaginable results.
Restaurant INARI as you know it today will serve the last dinner on the 30th of July 2022.
That's right, we are closing our beloved restaurant for good on this location.
Good news! We are moving!
Where and when?
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Come and join us this July for the last dance in our current location - book your tickets via Tock.