Suphawadi Khonmichon came to Finland at the end of 2008. She had worked in the restaurant industry in Thailand for years. In Finland she started working in a Chinese restaurant but didn’t enjoy it because she didn’t know Finnish. She was interested in the restaurant industry and started studying to become a chef at Stadin AO, Helsinki Vocational College and Adult Institute in Roihuvuori, Helsinki. She studied for three years and got an internship as a kitchen assistant. Little by little she progressed to become a kitchen manager.
The biggest challenge?
I graduated from vocational college just when the COVID pandemic started, and it was hard to get a job. I wondered if I had chosen the right field because the future looked so uncertain. Now that the situation is better, I enjoy my work because I love cooking.
The best thing at work?
I enjoy work the most when I can develop dishes and create new ones. Every week I discover an interesting new ingredient or seasonal product that I can use to develop a dish. Vegetarian food is easy and neat to prepare because you don’t have to handle meat. A Thai background is also useful because our cuisine is mainly based on vegetables. I also like to combine Finnish and Thai ingredients in dishes, and I have done interesting experiments with Finnish forest mushrooms and berries.
Your favourite Thai dish?
Som Tam. It is a salad with green papaya, green beans, carrot, chili, garlic, lime, and coconut sugar. I’ve made a Finnish version of it by using swede instead of green papaya. It works!
The biggest mistake?
When you work in a vegan restaurant, you must be careful with ingredients and especially with E numbers. At first, I made mistakes when ordering ingredients, but it was easy to correct them by running to the grocery store.
I bring to the work community…
A “just do it” attitude. If our waiters are busy, I can easily carry dishes to the tables. I think nobody in our team has an attitude that they won’t do this or that because it is not part of their job duties. Everyone helps each other both in customer service and in the kitchen.
What is the strangest Finnish food?
Definitely mämmi. It is so odd and so black. Especially when you combine it with cream, it is such a strange combination. I have been trying to think of something to do with it, but I can’t find anything. Sorry!
- Kitchen Manager
- Workplace Junk y Vegan Sanomatalo Helsinki
- Born in Thailand