IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassador_Matias Roisko_Saimaa

Matias Roisko

IGCAT Regional Chef Ambassador from
Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024

“My dream is to work with the best chefs around the world and always keep learning and improving my cooking. My expectations for the European Young Chef Award included getting more experienced in competitive cooking and learning new skills.”

Matias Roisko is the finalist who represented Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024 at the European Young Chef Award 2023.

Matias is an 18-year-old, third-year culinary student from Punkaharju (Savonlinna, Finland), a small town surrounded by clear waters and clean forests from which he gets most of his inspiration in the kitchen.

At the European Young Chef Award 2023, Matias presented the dish When the Forest Meets Lake Saimaa, an innovative version of Saimaa Fish Soup, a very traditional recipe that has been cooked for decades in the areas surrounding the lake Saimaa. According to the specific location and season, the ingredients and preparation of this dish can vary a lot. Matias will propose an innovation on his grandmother’s recipe.

“In lake Saimaa we have many different fish species that can be used sustainably for cooking. When you fish in Saimaa you have to be aware of the worlds most endangered fresh water seal: the Saimaa Ringed Seal. In my traditional recipe I proudly used sustainably caught pike-perch, which is fished with the best selective method that is ultimately safe for the ringed seal,” says Matias.

“For the local competition, I caught the fish myself with local filmmaker, photographer, writer and local fisherman Juha “Norppa” (seal) Taskinen who has dedicated his life to protect the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (https://norppataskinen.fi/en/).”