Into the wild: How one chef is blazing a trail in food foraging

In Finland you can find edible, wild, naturally growing food everywhere, from national forests to green public metropolitan locations– even people’s backyards. Foraging for berries and mushrooms is deeply rooted in the country’s culture.

A main aspect of this lifestyle is “everyman’s right”, which describes the right of everyone to enjoy outdoor pursuits– including nature’s nutritious yields– no matter who owns or occupies a given area. Eating freshly picked wild blueberries from a forest is an unique experience in itself!

Food tourist and visits to wild nature motivate people, both in Finland and worldwide. There are already a couple of dining establishments that serve dishes and create entire menus that are prepared using only ingredients sourced from close-by forests, which can be treasure troves of nutritional gems, supplying unique flavours from wild veggies and herbs such as nettles, dandelions, birch leaves and pine cones.

Chef Jyrki Tsutsunen is among the leading supporters of wild food in Finland. Tsutsunen, who chooses not to call himself a chef, employs a rather non-traditional technique to food culture. He prioritises and promotes duty and ecology in contemporary gastronomy. For many years, Tsutsunen worked as a chef in the kitchen area of the St Petersburg Consulate. Today, he works as a freelancer, organising distinct and memorable culinary and cultural occasions. In addition to tasting experiences, Tsutsunen wishes to bring other senses, memories and emotional states to the table.

Nearly all the food he serves and gets ready for the occasions is made from components he has actually gathered himself from nature. Tsutsunen’s creativity is limitless. In his food, he may utilize– in addition to more common wild herbs– pine cones, lichens and ants, to call just a few. To match the culinary experience, the events likewise include live music.

His present dining event is titled “Bones, Trees, Spoons” and presented together with percussionist Tatu Roenkkoe, whose music is produced with instruments such as pots, pans and birch whisks that are typically utilized in saunas. It was arranged to explore around Europe in summertime 2020, but due to the pandemic, events were held only in Finland.


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