Wednesday 3 September 

Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Anneli Jäätteenmäki, a long-standing politician and the first female Prime Minister of Finland, has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. In the beginning of 2014, she joined the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The Committee’s current spearhead issues are bio-economy and food security. In her public addresses, Jäätteenmäki has repeatedly encouraged Finnish food companies to increase their foreign exports. 

Helena Petäistö
Helena Petäistö, born in Oulu, is a long-term foreign reporter and French correspondent for the television channel MTV3. She has authored several travel books on European cities. Petäistö, now based in France, joins the seminar to discuss the presence of Northern Ostrobothnian food culture in Europe.

Kristiina Havas
Kristiina Havas is a Senior Lecturer at the HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. She is also the project leader in Food & Tourism II, a project that aims to set up a food tourism strategy for Finland. Her seminar speech deals with the development of the Finnish food tourism.


Juha Laukkanen
Juha Laukkanen shows the seminar guests that inspiring theatre is possible even with food in mouth. Laukkanen founded Sytkyt, a touring professional puppet theatre, more than 25 years ago with theatre technician Arto Ollikainen. The duo performs both in Finland and abroad in venues such as day care centres, kids’ parties and hospitals.



Hilde Halland
Hilde Halland works for the research institute Bioforsk Norsk as the leader of a project aimed at building a partnership network between small food companies. In her seminar speech, she discusses her experiences on local food producers’ networking efforts and future prospects.  

Sirpa Kämäräinen & Katja Vira – Isokenkäisten Klubi
Isokenkäisten klubi is a tourism business in Kuusamo, currently run by the second generation of the founder family. The company is situated in the very heart of the wild by the peaceful Heikinjärvi lake, just a few kilometres from the Russian border zone. The entrepreneurs, Sirpa Kämäräinen and Katja Vira, tell the story of their company and provide insight into the Botnia á la carte project and local entrepreneurs’ co-operation in Kuusamo.


Teuvo Hatva
Specialist Teuvo Hatva has extensive experience on the many facets of entrepreneurship. A Master of Administrative Sciences, he was first running his own business, then became a business advisor in the mid-2000s. In 2008, he took up a five-year post as a programme manager of Kalaleader (a Leader programme for fish) in Kainuu and Koillismaa. The programme involved applying the EU designation of origin for Kitkan Viisas, the type of vendace living in the highland lakes of Kuusamo and Posio. In the seminar, Teuvo Hatva shares the story of how the designation of origin was applied for. 

Kaisu Merilä – Merilän Kartano
Merilän Kartano (“Merilä Manor”) is a rural tourism destination by the River Oulujoki. The old main building at the end of a birch alley provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the cosiness of the rural life. In Merilä, the history is everywhere, as the valley of the River Oulujoki is an ancient pine tar distillation area and old handicraft and food traditions are still strong in the valley region. Entrepreneur Kaisu Merilä discusses her business and Ruokalaakso (Food Valley), the local cooperation initiative. 


Thursday 4 September

Ilja Björs
Ilja Björs is the manager of Restaurant Juuri, opened in 2004 and known as an enthusiastic promoter of Finnish food traditions and craftsmanship. Björs is the father of Restaurant Juuri’s famous “sapas”: small, unpretentious portions that show the Finnish food culture at its purest. Björs joins us to tell more about the importance of clean and local ingredients from the perspective of restaurants.

Päivi Töyli
Päivi Töyli is the project manager of Aitoja Makuja II (True Flavours II), a three-year project focusing on developing and maintaining the website aitojamakuja.fi (trueflavours.fi). Aitoja Makuja is a national initiative that brings together the efforts of various regional food professionals. The website contains a wealth of information and helps in finding food companies all over Finland.

Reija Satokangas
Reija Satokangas is an amateur member and the information officer (Vice-Chargeé de Presse) of the Oulu Bailliage of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. The international Chaîne builds on the fruitful cooperation of professionals and amateurs. Its aim is to support and promote national food culture and foster the development of young professional cooks and sommeliers.

Hannu Eräluoto
Hannu Eräluoto is the Chair of Pohjois-Pohjanmaan keittiömestarit (Northern Ostrobothnian Chefs’ Association). The essential values of the Association include maintaining one’s professional know-how and fostering regional food culture. Northern Ostrobothnian Chefs’ Association is the regional branch of the Finnish Chefs’ Association. Hannu Eräluoto joins the seminar to tell us about the Association’s activities in Northern Ostrobothnia.