Restaurant Day in Helsinki
Last Saturday we had a really nice event here, the Restaurant Day. It wasn’t only in Helsinki, but in all Finland and it is an event that takes place in many places around the world on the same day. It’s a food carnival where anyone can open their restaurant. On this day, it is allowed to set it up in front of your house, in the square, in the city center or wherever you want.
On today’s post, we’ll have a mix of things. I want to share what what is the event and also how was it like to have Es dulce (my pastry company) again, even for a day.
As a former pastry chef – and that still am by heart – I decided to participate and make an Es dulce revival. It was a coincidence that my last event in Brazil was exactly in May 2016. Funny to have the opportunity after a year.
I’ve already shared that giving up everything was not a simple process to me. I spent five years dedicating myself to something that was mine, which I practically built alone; that came from my dream and from my effort. So when I had the opportunity to have it again, the sleeping love reappeared.
The event started in 2011 in Helsinki with friends Timo Santala, Antii Tuomola and Olli Sirén.
It occurs simultaneously in all participating countries. It is celebrated 4 times a year, in February, May, August and November! Together, they created the event and even without the city’s permission they were able to show how fun it was to gather people and food together. Today, the event is a success and is celebrated in 75 countries.
To participate is very simple indeed. There’s a website where you can register your ‘restaurant’ and create an event to share on social media. It isn’t necessary to register, but it is worth to let people know where to find you, what you will serve and see any information you want to share. We didn’t know exactly how it worked. We thought that everyone was an amateur and that – even though we knew it got full – it would all be homemade. But no, we were wrong. There were both home and professional stalls, even with restaurant structure.
People set up their spaces the night before to reserve them. And, every corner, especially in the busiest regions of the city, is very disputed. In our naivete, we didn’t even think about it. We arrived early on Saturday to get a good shady place because of the sweets. However, what we found was a fully crowded square all reserved. It was amazing, the people do take it very seriously! But we found a little corner and, since we were small, we settled there!
Reliving Es dulce last week made me discover many things that I might have imagined, but wasn’t sure. Since we arrived, I knew I didn’t want to ‘open’ it again here and there were several reasons for it. Last week, many of those reasons were confirmed and I still got to discover others I did not even know.
I was very happy as a pastry chef in Brazil. I discovered pastry accidentally in my life. Just like I’m discovering myself a blogger / writer here as well. Life is made of changes, of opportunities and we don’t always have to follow the same things. I realized that after a year, pastry became a hobby for me and no longer a profession. It was very gratifying to see people’s reactions, receive the compliments, see the amount of messages I got from everyone on Facebook when I shared about the event. I really love all of it! I love this energy and see that what I do brings something good to people.
That’s how I would feel every time I delivered an event in Brazil. However, the process to get to that, it’s not for me anymore. At least not as a business. I’ll love doing something here or there for friends, for colegues, but not for a huge audience like the Restaurant Day’s. Even because I had no idea of quantity since I had never participated before and, thank God, we still profit.
However, this year in Finland has been very revealing. We have learned to give importance to life quality and not just money. Not that we don’t need it. Of course we do, but I have no structure to work from home. I don’t have enough proper tools – and don’t intend to invest – to offer with the same quality as I used to before. So, if I can’t do it well done, it doesn’t work for me. Not to mention that I realised how this past year made me lose my rhythm. Only those who work with culinary know what it demands.
I want to make it clear that I’m not complaining. I worked on it happily while I had my atelier in Brazil. Moreover, we delivered everything over the weekend with the best quality and love we could. But it was very challenging. Can you imagine carrying everything by public transport, including the table that we took? LOL just having a husband like mine to get into my craziness. So I would like to thank you for every support message I received, all the affection and encouragement to continue with Es dulce here.
When we have a gift, it stays with us forever. I will always love both pastry and Es dulce. You will still hear about it, she will not disappear! I have new plans that will make me very happy too!
Participating was an incredible experience! It was very tiring, but I met a lot of nice people! Besides, it was very good to see the amount of Brazilians – and foreigners – who enjoyed my sweets! It could not have been a success without the help of dear friends and my husband! So I loved being able to spend the day with them too!
The next event is in August. I don’t promise we’ll be there … but if we are, I’ll let you know for sure! Anyways, if you are in Helsinki for the next one, it is worth checking it out. You’ll find food from all over the world, get to meet lot of people and their cultures!
My big thank you to those who have visited us and enjoyed our sweets! Also to those who share love and cheer for us!
Lili is half Peruvian, half Brazilian, a dreamer Pisces kind of girl, curious, life lover and travel addicted! She`s been to 53 countries, loves to explore different cultures and to travel to the most unusual destinations. Currently lives in Finland, is a monthly columnist for the website Brasileiras pelo Mundo (a Brazilian platform of expat women) and founder of Hey, I am Lili. She believes that the most important things in life are to laugh out loud, a good wine and people she loves always around anywhere in this world!