Sharing a Sustainable Success: Helsinki Restaurant Nolla Reopens with a Collaborative Feast Celebrating Zero Waste Cooking

Sharing a Sustainable Success: Helsinki Restaurant Nolla Reopens with a Collaborative Feast Celebrating Zero Waste Cooking

On July 26-27 restaurant Nolla, a pioneer in Helsinki’s sustainable food scene, celebrates its newly refurbished premises and six-year anniversary by welcoming fellow chefs from six esteemed restaurants to share innovative cooking methods and cook together, entirely without electricity. Book your seat to attend this unique event and taste the forefront of sustainable cooking.

After closing for renovations at the end of May, one of Helsinki’s most talked-about restaurants, the zero-waste eatery Nolla, will reopen at the end of July. Known for its commitment to sustainability, Nolla has captured the hearts of locals and garnered international attention by combining delectable food with meticulous waste reduction practices. From utilizing scraps in their own composter to sourcing ingredients from local farmers and avoiding plastic packaging, Nolla exemplifies how a restaurant can be both sustainable and profitable.

As the restaurant prepares to celebrate its sixth birthday, owners Albert Franch Sunyer, Carlos Henriques and Luka Balac are making a push to share the sustainability lessons gained during those years – and to learn from their peers. On 26-27 July, they will invite chefs from six leading restaurants in Finland and abroad to the new Nolla to celebrate the reopening and birthday by cooking together.

We want to bring a bunch of chefs together to experiment with cooking without waste. To take the challenge to the next level, we will be doing it without electricity,” Henriques explains.

Participating restaurants include Vår from Porvoo, Wellamo from Helsinki, Hjem from Vaasa, Popl from Copenhagen, Kajo in Tampere and Solitary from Rantasalmi.

Working Together to Improve the Industry

Responsible gastronomy, where sustainability shines through in the menus but also in the overall way of working, has gained significant momentum over the recent years. In 2020, the MICHELIN Guide introduced the Green Star, an annual award highlighting restaurants at the forefront of the industry when it comes to their sustainable practices. Helsinki is home to four Green Star restaurants, including Nolla.

For the three founders, advocating for change within the restaurant industry was a key part of their original mission, an effort they now aim to expand. “The idea is to start bringing restaurants together. In Finland, we see a lot of competition between restaurants, but it’s a very small market, and we want to foster a sense of collaboration. If we all improve, Finland benefits,” Henriques says, adding:

I’m thrilled that other restaurants are willing to listen and show interest in our methodology. Sustainability is often associated with missing something or lacking something. But our method is not like that; it’s about making unique, interesting dishes, investing in the restaurant industry and growing profitably, but doing it in a sustainable manner. This method has proven successful for us.

Nolla will be open to the public on both evenings, with reservations available through the restaurant’s website and Instagram account. There will be one seating per evening, allowing guests to stay as long as they wish, observe the cooking process and interact with the chefs.

As no electricity will be used, much of the cooking will happen on open fire, using charcoal. Each chef will prepare one or two dishes, depending on the level of complexity. Guests will be able to experience lots of different techniques, flavor profiles and textures,” Henriques concludes.

We in Helsinki are glad to see this type of joint efforts and initiatives towards more sustainable practices in the restaurant industry. Finland has been rated the world’s happiest nation for seven times in a row and we often get asked why. We believe that the strong communal spirit and also shared experiences around food play an integral role in happy life,” says Anu Syrmä, Brand, Marketing and Communications Director at Helsinki Partners.

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