Streat Helsinki leads the way!
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to speak at the first street food conference in Helsinki – Streat Helsinki . Street food in Helsinki … ? ! For me, that operates Nordic Street Food in Malmo/Sweden , this came as a happy surprise . We here in the North ‘re not known for our street food … yet. But I promise you that we will be after this .
Streat Helsinki is a project inspired by the street food festival in San Francisco and enthusiast Ville Relander (responsible for Helsinki Food Strategy) and the New Nordic Food Project Charlotta Ranert , drew inspiration and brought the festival back to Scandinavia . Helsinki became the meeting place and together with a variety of inspiring international street- food -lovers , I went over to be featured as one of “the speakers” . An honor!
What a performance! What an arrangement and the organization ! We were picked up from the airport with a sign with my name on it … it has probably never happened before even though I traveled around the world a few times , we were given a ” goodie bag ” with Finnish delicacies and a pair of scissors … (instead of a knife ? ) , A nice room at Hotel GLO middle in the center of town and a program that was packed from morning to night with conferences, street food , dinners and parties.
Interview on stage together with Pertti Kallionen ( no six in a The Finnish version of Top Chef, same position as I ended up in The Swedish version of Master ´Chef) who runs Street Gastro and Cynthia Shanmugalingam from Kitchenette , incubator in London, was moderated by professional Kenneth Nars , who kept everything together throughout the conference…
…while Linda Sauko-Rautas cartoons were created live on large screens with such imagination and humor, that it became a major part of the entire day.
In addition, I was invited by Swedish Yle morning program My morning and met Sonja and Marten and cooked mushrooms wraps on TV and talk about the success of Nordic Street food and the advantages and disadvantages of street food in the North.
I got to meet street food entrepreneurs from around the world with Mr. Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg himself, Eric Demby , Chris Yin chefred at Lucky Peach , happy and positive Bini from San Francisco and the team behind La Cuicina , which is an incubator for aspiring street food entrepreneurs, Mikkel Sander from The Roskilde Festival and many more. All with street food as their love, passion and focus .
We were treated to street food during the breaks and in the evenings invited to food cooked by top chefs Richard McCormic, Sasu Laukkonen , Jaakko Sorsa all whom were insured by the street food culture. The closing dinner was cooked by tattooed Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg. Exposions of taste served with good drinks in the recently opened Bronda ( one in five ( ? !) newly opened restaurants for tattooed Tomi … this week … )
Saturday was devoted to a street food extravagance on the square in the town center , where several trucks and trailers lined up to serve their food to curious Helsinki residents .
It was sooo packed that it was impossible to get close to the food if you didm´t have the patience to stand in line for hours. But the finns did. They stood nicely in straight queues to get the opportunity to taste , sausages , burgers , mini burgers , tacos, mussels, oysters … all cooked from scratch. The craving for it was so obvious!
Our Swedish friends Fred Food Truck , Curbside and The Boardwalk had sailed across the ocean to attend and we were also invited. But it became a bit logistically difficult to travel all the way from Malmo to Helsinki with trolley and two days slow cooked chuck roll…
We took the opportunity to try the Finnish classic street food …. pasties with rye bread and rice … not my cup of tea and I ‘m really looking forward to the new Nordic street food also in Helsinki .
It was a fantastic event , which indicates that street food , whether it is on the streets of San Fransisco, New York, London, Stockholm or Helsinki, is here to stay . Now we’re just waiting for the permits to be released , so we’ll serve the food we cook with much love and passion in the streets of Malmö (and the rest of Sweden ) to waiting customers who are hungry for the very best passionate cooks in a street can offer!
Thank you all in Streat Helsinki team for an amazing experience !