When I opened my restaurant sixteen years ago, the word “hospitality” was foremost in my mind. I directed my attention toward the customers coming through the front door. I wanted to greet them with tantalizing smells and friendly smiles, to make them feel welcome.
Few people know that the best place to go for a fine Russian meal isn’t Russia, but Helsinki, Finland. I’m Finnish, and my knowledge of Russian cooking came straight from my grandmother, who worked as a chef in a wealthy household in the Åland Islands.
- Waiting for a Cappuccino: A Brief Layover along the Spice Trail
As I wait for my cappuccino, I subconsciously but quite mechanically begin to play with the salt and pepper shakers on the vinyl tablecloth—pairing them off as ballroom dancers across the checkerboard design, then transforming them into charging bull and lithesome matador.