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In English

Hello, Suomi! Working in a hospital kitchen in Finland: Pakistan-born Yasmeen Koskimäki enjoys the challenge

Yasmeen Koskimäki came from Pakistan to Finland to work as an au pair in 2000. Her brother encouraged her to stay in Finland, and since she loves food, she started studying to become a chef. Her first workplace was at Jorvi hospital in Espoo and she has enjoyed working there ever since.

The biggest challenge?

At first it was definitely the language. It affected my work at first, but as I learned it, I also started to enjoy work more and more. Adjusting to a different culture, in general, was another challenge, but my supervisor and my colleagues have been a great help. They have taught me how to cope with living in Finland, how to work, and what the right and wrong way of doing things is. I wouldn’t be such a professional today without their help.

Your favourite Pakistani ingredient?

I love using eggplant and ocher in the kitchen, and my favorite Pakistani meal is biryani, a rice dish consisting of spices, rice, and meat, fish, eggs, or vegetables.

Egg Biryani or anda biryani Fragrant Basmati rice cooked with spicy masala gravy along with spices, veggies and boiled eggs. served with yogurt, salad and salan. Black background with copy space.
Biryani is a Pakistani rice dish. KUVA iStock.com / Manaswi Patil

The best thing at work?

The versatility of both the work and my colleagues. In the hospital kitchen, you also learn a lot about different diseases and allergies. It is necessary to know what patients can and cannot eat. We also have a great team with dozens of different nationalities. Everyone learns and supports each other at work, and that is the best.

The best feedback you’ve received?

I’ve heard that I’m a quick learner. I had never used a computer in Pakistan, so I didn’t know anything about them at first, but I learned quickly.

Yasmeen Koskimäki
Yasmeen Koskimäki enjoys a challenging work environment.

I bring to the work community…

Lots of laughter. I also want to greet everyone kindly.

What is especially important about working in a hospital kitchen?

The work requires special precision. The patient cards must be read carefully because if a celiac patient receives, for example, ordinary bread, he can choke. After all, you learn by asking, and if you are silent, you won’t know anything. That is why I always ask if something is unclear, and the great thing is that I always get the answers.

Different varieties of double salted licorice in open glass jar and on white background
Salmiakki is the strangest Finnish taste for Yasmeen Koskimäki. KUVA Istock

What is the strangest Finnish food?

Salty licorice, salmiakki, tasted very strange and salty at first. It is also interesting that fish is prepared in cream and milk.

FURTHER READING: Hello, Suomi! Working in Finland: Oscar Eduardo Vera de la Rosa runs a Mexican restaurant in Oulu

FURTHER READING: Hello, Suomi! Working in Finland: Angola-born Teresa Kuango talks culture, customer service and… the strangest Finnish food


Yasmeen Koskimäki

Occupation: Nutrition worker

Workplace: Jorvi hospital kitchen

Born in Pakistan


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