The HEL YES! experience impressed visitors in Helsinki just like it did in London, and managed to send out a positive message about new ways to look at and present Finnish design and food.
Originally produced as a Finnish Institute commission, HEL YES! travelled to Helsinki for 22 January – 5 February. ”This was our second time around with this concept so we really had to exceed ourselves”, says executive chef Antto Melasniemi. London and Helsinki are two very different environments but the concept worked very well in both of them. For example in Helsinki the main course was served on one big serving dish on each table, which familiarised strangers to one another and helped in making HEL YES! a relaxed and communal experience. Such openness is can’t always be taken for granted in Finland.
HEL YES! Helsinki was situated in an old industrial hall in Kalasatama, the rough kaurismäki-esque surroundings giving its customers a pleasant surprise once they got in. ”You could really sense the warm atmosphere and see how everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a real pleasure to see such happy customers” ethuses the event's producer Aino Heikkinen.
HEL YES! Helsinki made headline news in several Finnish media outlets including TV, newspapers and magazines. The restaurant concept’s transition away from the Nordic minimalism towards a more Slavic abundance was very well received.
”With HEL YES! I think we set an example on how to take daring steps in new directions”, Heikkinen concludes.
The question is now; what’s next for HEL YES!
HEL YES! IMPRESSED IN HELSINKI