Starter Pop Up creates a stage for young chefs to shine on

Laura Hujanen skriver om unika möjligheter för unga kockar att presentera sin mat. Med konceptet Starter Pop Up samarbetar unga kockar med erfaren restaurangpersonal och Finlands mest prisvinnande bartender för att skapa en minnesvärda middagar. Kanske ett koncept att jobba vidare på även i Sverige!


Starter Pop Up creates a stage for young chefs to shine on

Starter Pop Up is an opportunity for young chefs to showcase their skills and vision in a two day long pop up. Idea for the concept came from the surroundings of the Starter Restaurant in Helsinki.

”When we opened Starter, we quickly realized how special this place was. Being a part of a Maria01 startup community and surrounded by young, innovative dreamers inspired us and we thought that we need to step up and do our share for the future”, tells Sanna Koroleva Räst, the restaurant manager of Starter and the person behind the idea. 

The chef of the first pop up, Mikko Pynnönen with Sanna Koroleva Räst and Timo Siitonen

And as a restaurant, what better way to do that, than give an opportunity for young chefs to show their vision and skills. 

”We believe that each and every talent needs to be noticed and given a chance to shine!”

Starter Pop Up is a celebration of young chefs and their skills. Just like the angel investors in startup world give opportunity for startups to develop, Starter gives its resources and kitchen for a young chef to use so that they can showcase their talent and try their wings. The chef for each pop up is chosen via competition, where contestants get to create their own tasting menu around a theme.

The theme for the second Starter Pop Up is Meadow

Besides showcasing the talent of young chefs and the future trends in cooking, Starter Pop Up is an homage to the Finnish nature. The menu of the second pop up in June will take diners on a flavour journey on the summer meadows and fields of Finland. 

Flavour paired cocktails with the dishes are part of the experience in Starter Pop Up.

Starter is part of the A21 restaurant group, which was founded in 2007. The flagship of the group is A21 cocktail bar so it was only natural to add cocktail elements to Starter Pop Up also. The head bartender of A21, Timo Siitonen, the most awarded bartender in Finland, will create flavour paired cocktails for the menu. Through these cocktails diners get to know a different way of pairing food and drinks. Part of the experience for the chefs is to learn how to do flavour pairings of cocktail and food.

 ”Modern cocktails that are driven by the fresh ingredients work magnificently with food. They can support the different elements in a dish or act as a surprising contrast for the flavours. Cocktails can be tailor made to work as a symbiotic flavour pair for a course. It is interesting to get to create pairings with young talented chefs and to see what kind of flavours they bring to the plate!” Siitonen tells.

White fish, fennel and mussel broth together with flavour paired cocktail: cucumber, dill, aquavit and apple cider vinegar

The first Starter Pop Up got praises and excellent feedback

The chef of the first Starter Pop Up in May was 23 years old Mikko Pynnönen, who created a 5 course tasting menu around archipelago theme. Pynnönen was very happy with the customer feedback after the pop up. The experience was described as something unique and refreshing in the restaurant scene in Helsinki.

”It was nice to experience this new concept. Mikko’s food was very delicious and the wines and cocktails matched really nicely with the dishes. The restaurant itself with the open concept kitchen worked splendid for the execution of the pop up”, told Kati Laszka, one of the diners. 

The open concept kitchen gives diners an opportunity to see the young stars at work.

The next pop up is on 14th and 15th of June.

Starter Restaurant

Lapinlahdenkatu 16, building 15 C, 00180 Helsinki

More information about the event and reservations:

Laura Hujanen

Photo: Laura Hujanen and Timo Siitonen (pic of Laura)

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