Sasu Laukkonen is the chef and owner of the Chef & Sommelier restaurant in Helsinki, Finland.
Opened in 2010, the restaurant has a strong focus on wile and organic produce with an unfaltering approach to what Laukkonen calls ‘zero waste cooking’.
Spending hours working on farms alongside people who actually grow ingredients is one of Laukkonen’s main approaches, a style of work that allows him to gain a deep understanding of all the parts of an ingredients.
This line of cooking leads to dishes that make use of of ingredients that many chefs would normally discard. Dishes that harness stalks, roots, leaves, peels and trimmings - holistic cooking in every sense.
Many chefs today follow a reduced waste approach but rarely do they do it with the sort of dedication shown by Laukkonen and his team who prepare oils, vinegars, salts and sauces by freezing, drying, pickling or dehydrating all kinds of cuttings that many would not consider edible.
In this wonderful video presentation from the Irish symposium Food on The Edge, Laukkonen discusses how his zero waste approach has led to some great discoveries in the kitchen. He also presents a unique idea he has to create a programme that places chefs to work on farms and farmers to cook in the kitchen.
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.