Compass Group Culinary Team Finland. Top row: Elisa Varesmaa, Sampsa Vainio, Lauri Nuutinen, Ville Pyykönen, Samuli Laine. Bottom row: Tea Viinanen, Essi Piira, Antti Tynkkynen, Matti Tikka, Tomi Lesonen.


In a triumphant showcase of culinary excellence, the Compass Group Culinary Team Finland has clinched the gold medal at the prestigious IKA Culinary Olympics held in Stuttgart. The team, representing Finland, shared the top podium spot in the Community Catering category with the Swiss team, underlining the high standards of culinary arts in both countries. Alongside, the Finnish National Culinary Team also secured gold in their respective category, marking a double victory for Finland at this global event.

The IKA Culinary Olympics, a gastronomic event of immense scale, attracted over 1,200 participants from 55 countries, who prepared more than 7,000 high-quality menus across 17 competition kitchens or showcased their creativity in culinary exhibitions. The Community Catering category saw fierce competition from 21 teams worldwide, with the Compass Group Culinary Team Finland securing their gold-level status among the top four on the competition day, alongside teams from Norway, France, and Switzerland.

Comprised of ten professionals from Compass Group's dining facilities across Finland, the team embarked on a two-year journey filled with relentless work, passion, and dedicated training to achieve this remarkable feat. Their competition menu, designed for 120 people, was finalized in early autumn 2023 after meticulous planning.

Ville Pyykönen, the team leader, expressed his overwhelming joy and sense of achievement, stating, "It feels absolutely fantastic and surreal." This sentiment reflects the exceptional talent and hard work that the team poured into preparing for the competition.

Hannu Rahnasto, CEO of Compass Group Finland, praised the team's accomplishment as a testament to the outstanding skills found within the company's lunch restaurants and various locations across Finland. Rahnasto highlighted the authentic, respectful, and people-centered teamwork that led to this success, embodying the corporate culture Compass Group is building in Finland across over 500 locations. He extended heartfelt congratulations to the team and gratitude to their supporters and partners, including Atria, Valio Aimia, and E. Ahlström, who accompanied them on their journey to Stuttgart.

The winning team's journey was not just about culinary skills but also about strengthening teamwork and trust through humor, shared passion for food, and camaraderie. Feedback along the way, including insights from notable figures like Mikko Kaukonen from the Association of Finnish Chefs, Katja Tuomainen from the Finnish National Culinary Team, and Compass colleagues, played a crucial role in refining their competition entry. Karri Käki, a judge at the Olympics and Compass Group's product development manager, emphasized the importance of teams bringing modern twists to their country's culinary traditions.

The Compass Group Culinary Team Finland's gold medal at the IKA Culinary Olympics not only celebrates their culinary prowess but also showcases Finnish cuisine on the world stage, highlighting the country's commitment to excellence, innovation, and teamwork in the culinary arts.