Crunching the kitchenstuff

Tag: Culinary Olympics

Team of young chefs showed their skills at Pädaste

We sure took on a challenge this time with our last event from the ’20 by 8′ series – inviting 5 young and talented Estonian chefs to join with Pädaste culinary team. Each of them had a task in hand to prepare 1 course in a 5 course dinner and to do so raw! In future this team of 5 young chefs will most likely participate in the Culinary Olympics held in Luxembourg in 2014.

Our culinary happening actually already started in the afternoon when the young folks had a raffle to get their mentors and had to pick their main produce for preparing their course. The variety of produce was rich and not all so common – we had seal meat, cod cheeks, cured Scottish highlander, white fish, pike perch bottarga, white asparagus and lamb fillet. Although chefs had to keep in mind, they couldn’t go any higher than 37 C when cooking, we still made a little exception to the preparation of the main course, allowing to use living fire – we heated the stones in fire and cooked the lamb straight in the dining room on the fiery stones.

What can I say in conclusion…well, most of all, I hope that other restaurants pick up the good vibe we started and host our future talents in their kitchens and share their know-how. The dinner was a success and feedback was more than positive. We also gave the tips of the night to the young chefs to go and visit this years Culinary Olympics in Erfurt.

I take a bow to all the young chefs who participated and to my team who gave them a warm and hearty welcome!

Enjoy the wonderful pictures by Lauri Laan

Smile! Our expanded culinary team for the day

Pädaste horticulturist Anna is lecturing the chefs

Lecture continues in front of the manor house

Laying out the battle plan

And…we are live!

Best from garden and forest


Whitefish with seaherbs consommé

Cured Scottish highlander with hay milk and wild herbs

Lamb fillet from Sarapiku farm roasted on heated stones with sea arrow grass sauce and cream



We are going RAW


For quite some time now we have been organizing special events for all the foodies out there, we call it 20by8 – first at Neh and now at Alexander Restaurant. This forthcoming event is going to be something special as it is somewhat a test for our young Estonian chefs – all on  route to perfection in their home-kitchens, now coming together as a team (going to represent Estonia in Culinary Olympics in 2014)  to take on a task of foraging the woods, finding wild plants and a cooking at a temperature that may not exceed 37° C…. Yes, we are going RAW this time around in our 20by8 culinary happening! I will give you a brief overview how it all went down probably in the next week – so stay tuned to Kitchencrunch!

An exclusive ‘20 by 8’ Culinary Event at Alexander Restaurant – Pädaste Manor on 26 May

This time we have invited five talented Estonian chefs to join the Pädaste culinary team and rise to the occasion. With our guidance these young chefs are set to create a fabulous five-course dinner.

The five promising young talents are members of the Estonian Young Chefs Team which will participate in the 2014 Culinary Olympics in Germany. Pädaste Manor – as a leading restaurant in Estonia – takes this initiative to encourage the team, pass on knowledge and motivate the “future generation” of Estonian gastronomy.

Diners participating in ‘Raw’ are also invited to join in with some of the day-time fun! Under the guidance of our horticulturist Anna–Liisa Piiroja, our clients and chefs are heading for the woods and meadows to gather wild produce. The foraging trip departs from Pädaste on Saturday at noon.

Click here for further info about Raw
* 20 by 8 is as much about discovery of food as about meeting with fellow members of the foodie tribe, hence a certain culinary curiosity is a pre-requisite – however, the true joy of 20 by 8 is very much about socializing at table.

** Any tips left on this evening will go towards the travel budget of the 2014 Estonian Culinary Olympic Team. Your generosity in support of these fine young chefs is very much appreciated!

‘20 by 8’ arrangement includes accommodation on Saturday night and prices start at €192 per person, based on double occupancy and subject to the chosen room category. Naturally this all inclusive arrangement comprises the dinner event with a sumptuous selection of dishes, wines and after dinner drinks on 26 May.

Please note the foraging trip starts at noon and we welcome guests for dinner at 8pm

For reservations contact

You’ve got to learn to succeed

By the time I arrived to The Tallinn School of Service, the young chefs had already been bustling in the kitchen for nearly a whole day. The food happening created in a form of a pop-up restaurant was called N 11 – the future prospects of Estonian gastronomy demonstrating their skills. One can never be sure, but I expect at least half of them to be determined to continue in their path of becoming a full time chef. One of the goals for this event was also to pick a team out of those young Estonian chefs to represent Estonia in the 2014 Culinary Olympics. I wish them the best of luck!

During the dinner I found myself thinking about those young folks who have chosen to become chefs and the more I thought about it the more I realized that they would really benefit from improving their skills abroad. Maybe not escaping straight away, but in it’s good time – why not. And not aiming for some second rate corner restaurants, but for renowned spots around the world. So we welcome talents coming back home, but we need to let them go and spread their wings a little. Having said that, I must admit that there are very few examples of Estonian chefs working and gaining experience in worlds top-notch restaurants. Dima Mägi who is working in one of the NYCs finest restaurants Eleven Madison Park is probably the best example. So if you know any other good examples of Estonian chefs working in restaurants like that, I’d appreciate you letting me know.

Estonian chefs working abroad have surely a positive influence on Estonian culinary scene – bringing back the knowledge, experience and skills from a top restaurant abroad is worth a lot and is well needed in the restaurant kitchens over here. Because, let’s be honest – a lot of the so called original ideas from our top chefs have been borrowed from elsewhere. Cooking is a lot like making music – you can go on forever playing covers in a tribute band and fool everybody, but you don’t do that stuff in a good rock’n’roll band, especially if you are determined enough to make it someday.

I’m glad that the food buzz, blogging and media are very positive, evolving and active. Food related topics get a lot more attention these days than they used to, but the soup is getting cold in the pots of our chefs. It took a long long time to realize, that the best produce is local – the one we are familiar with and know how to use without seeming unnatural.

Bringing back the experience is nothing unusual – that is one of the aspects that has in fact brought fame and success to Scandinavian restaurants. Bringing back loads of experience, different vibes and mindset to ones homeland and mixing it with local ingredients is one of the simple formulas to success. So, my young colleagues – do not satisfy with making it to a culinary spotlight here on the fast track. I think we have probably moved too fast already and thus we’re missing out quite a few chapters in truly understanding the world of gastronomy. Gaining the knowledge, making that our own and building a true local culinary scene takes time, as it takes time to achieve a Michelin star. But I feel positive about it – we’ll finally get there – we just shouldn’t hurry.

The future of Estonian gastronomy scene

The future of Estonian gastronomy scene

Main course- Slow cooked duck breast, parsnip cream & pearl onions

Main course- Slow cooked duck breast, parsnip cream & pearl onions

Restaurant Neh was represented by a promising talent  Johannes Hõimoja

Restaurant Neh was represented by a promising talent Johannes Hõimoja