Chefstock: Alyn Williams & Sasu Laukkonen. London 19th April 2016

Jerusalem artichoke puree in skin crisp, coffee and porcini. Sourdough crisp with spring lamb tartar, kohlrabi and apple - Sasu Laukkonen
Jerusalem artichoke puree in skin crisp, coffee and porcini. Sourdough crisp with spring lamb tartar, kohlrabi and apple – Sasu Laukkonen
Sherry & crème fraiche/scallop bonito/Roquefort/bitter leaves/candied pecans - Alyn Williams
Sherry & crème fraiche/scallop bonito/Roquefort/bitter leaves/candied pecans – Alyn Williams
Pike-perch/sea bass with sorrel, spinach and ramson - Sasu Laukkonen
Pike-perch/sea bass with sorrel, spinach and ramson – Sasu Laukkonen
Barbeque chicken wings/parfait agnolotti/grilled leek/jack by the hedge - Alyn Williams
Barbeque chicken wings/parfait agnolotti/grilled leek/jack by the hedge – Alyn Williams
Organic cauliflower, warm mid course with dried reindeer and pickled lingonberries, lemon thyme - Sasu Laukkonen
Organic cauliflower, warm mid course with dried reindeer and pickled lingonberries, lemon thyme – Sasu Laukkonen
Monkfish/pommes boulangere/Belota iberica /acorns/preserved kumquat - Alyn Williams
Monkfish/pommes boulangere/bellota iberica /acorns/preserved kumquat – Alyn Williams
Roe deer, juniper (from Finland), salted forest blueberries and grilled celeriac - Sasu Laukkonen
Roe deer, juniper from Finland, salted forest blueberries and grilled celeriac – Sasu Laukkonen
Cornish cows curd/loquats/chamomile meringue/sea buckthorn granité - Alyn Williams
Cornish cows curd/loquats/chamomile meringue/sea buckthorn granité – Alyn Williams
‘The Finnish forest’ with home made white chocolate - Sasu Laukkonen
‘The Finnish forest’ with home made white chocolate – Sasu Laukkonen

What happens when a great Finnish chef, known (not only but also) for his no waste cooking, visits a great British chef? They cook together and what they do is a seriously exciting cooking!

That’s what happened when Sasu Laukkonen visited Alyn Williams.

I was following Sasu’s work since long time and also featured him here already, so I was very much looking forward to this dinner. I also know quite well Alyn’s work. I ate in his restaurant many times – I was eating there already before moving to London and always admired his immaculate technique and beautiful creativity. Also Alyn was already featured here.

The dinner created by the two was an exciting dialogue in which the flavours from Finland so beautifully expressed by Sasu through an exciting selection of ingredients fabulously challenged Alyn to respond to each of Sasu’s dishes in his own way.

How did Sasu decide about the dishes and ingredients to present himself in London?

I decided before Christmas and that was very early for me. Usually I decide only a week before, I want to be spontaneous and let myself inspire by the season. But it was fun to do it a bit differently this time. So I decided for a bit of my raw cuisine with the fish, no waste with the cauliflower (Sasu used also the root, leaves, peels, so really all of it!), the smoky roe deer with the blueberries and the celeriac and  finally the dessert which was like spirit of Finland (yes, also literally) with the taste of Finnish gin and the Finnish forest which is unique for me.”

I totally loved this dessert! We have forgotten to take the picture (it was looking and smelling too good!), so we got one more which after picture was taken, we finished eating with a great pleasure.

And which Alyn’s dish did Sasu like best?

My favorite was Alyn’s monkfish. Such an incredible idea to serve perfectly roasted monkfish with that melted iberico fat, the fermented kumquat, the acorn and the greens. Genius!  I really loved also his chicken wings, that agnolotti were simply amazing!

What about Alyn? Which was his favourite among Sasu’s dishes?

It’s a very difficult choice – all his dishes were excellent! I loved for example his main course – the roe deer with salted blueberries, juniper cream and grilled celeriac – will live long in my memory.

It was an exciting collaboration and it was wonderful seeing how well the two chefs went along with each other – not so strange if you know what lovely persons they are.

Sasu is still enthusiastic: “Cooking together worked very naturally, I felt very much at home in Alyn’s kitchen. I think this has much to do with what kind of personalities we are and we really match. I loved our interaction, the sharing of thoughts and ideas, seeing Alyn in his element and working with him was a wonderful experience.

Alyn agreed : “It was really lovely working together. We met last year in Ireland and got along very well. We are very sympathetic to each other and have a very similar approach. Just being around Sasu is inspiring.

And we could feel that! The wonderful energy between the two chefs resulted in a beautiful dinner: exciting dishes and wonderful atmosphere. We want more of this!

Andreja Lajh

Sasu Laukkonen and Alyn Williams. Photo: Laura LP / HdG Photography
Sasu Laukkonen and Alyn Williams. Photo: Laura LP / HdG Photography

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