How to do local cuisine in the frozen north?
Food in Lapland is not quite like anywhere else in the world.
Jonathan Guppy is head chef at Rakas Restaurant & Bar, located almost directly on the Arctic Circle, a few kilometres outside Rovaniemi, the provincial capital of Finnish Lapland. We asked Chef Guppy about his work and what drew him to the Arctic life.
🦌 What dishes would you recommend to first time visitors to northern Finland?
“Reindeer! The most traditional way is to serve it sautéed in butter with mashed potatoes, pickled cucumber, and local lingonberries. The lingonberries have a sharpness which helps to ‘cut’ the butter used to cook the reindeer.”
“In Lapland, a lot of our food is still naturally organic.”
🦌 What special challenges do you face as a chef in Lapland relying solely on local ingredients?
“It can be a challenge finding and sourcing enough local ingredients when winter hits. Then it all comes down to how well we have prepared in the spring, summer, and autumn.”
🦌 What are the upsides and downsides of living in Lapland?
“Lapland is one of the last great wildernesses in the world so when we say we are in touch with nature we really know what we are talking about. Water is some of the cleanest in the world and tests have shown that we have the cleanest air. I moved to Lapland because I wanted to, so I don’t really see any downside.”
🦌 How do you relax when you are not at work?
“I go to the forest. I go hiking with my wife or I do trail running alone. Both are very relaxing and great ways to see the beauty of Lapland.
Text Tim Bird
Photos Tim Bird, Mika Korhonen / Unsplash, Rakas Restaurant & Bar