Jyrki Jääskeläinen, the new chef of the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C started his job on March 1, 2015. However, Jääskeläinen arrived to the U.S. already last August with his family.
Jyrki Jääskeläinen has a lot of experience getting to know new ingredients from different countries. He became a cook in 1989 and later in 1995 a chef. His career in international kitchens got started at the Consulate General of Finland in Leningrad. After that he has been working around the world, for example in Beijing, Moscow, Berlin and Tokyo. He has been working mostly at Finnish embassies and consulates preparing Finnish foods. Jääskeläinen is very familiar with the Nordic food culture and he plans to continue promoting Nordic food also in Washington D.C. "I want to make the American people aware of Finnish food," Jääskeläinen says.
Jääskeläinen has been in the U.S. since last August so he has had some time to get to know the local food culture, like classic American hamburgers.
But how does one prepare Finnish food in another country using different ingredients? Jääskeläinen says that the local stores and their products are slowly becoming familiar to him. "This helps a lot when you want to improvise a little bit," Jääskeläinen says and emphasizes how he is still learning new things all the time.
Finnish food is known for its high quality ingredients. People use words like clean and healthy when describing food from Finland and many Finnish expats miss certain national dishes such as the Karelian pastries.
Jääskeläinen himself loves to prepare fish and try new recipes. He hopes to have the chance to do both in his new kitchen. "The fishes here are really different from Europe and Finland, so I just have to try and see what I can come up with them. I am confident that I will be able continue to prepare my favorite fish dishes also here," Jääskeläinen says.