In Finland, a country where the growing season lasts just three to four months, Sasu Laukkonen stands out by using only local and foraged produce at his restaurant Chef & Sommelier—and wasting none of it. He sources ingredients from the restaurant's own farm outside the city, regional vendors and the surrounding forests, which provide berries and mushrooms depending on the season.
“When you know where a product comes from, you can comfortably use 100 percent of it and feel proud,” Laukkonen says. His approach also helps the bottom line. “In the end, a chef needs to make money. When using wild produce, it’s free for you to pick. When we buy a local potato, we just wash off the mud and everything else goes on the plate. If the potato peel isn’t used in the same dish, it is incorporated in another. So why order, let’s say, celeriac from Holland, peel 40 percent of it, and only use 60 percent of what you bought?”
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While the dishes Laukkonen’s kitchen team assemble may look advanced and unsuitable for the home cook, Sasu Laukkonen is not one for overcomplicating things or secret recipes. As part of his strong no-waste attitude and push for local sustainability, he is eager to share his knowledge and strives to educate not only chefs, but home cooks, on how to take simple steps to create less food waste and support local farmers.