Chef Revelations – Helena Puolakka

04 November 2011
Chef Revelations – Helena Puolakka

What was your best subject at school? History

What was your first job? Working at the first McDonald's in Helsinki

What do you normally have for breakfast? Porridge with my mother's apple jam

What do you do to relax? Hot Bikram yoga

What's your favourite hotel? Hotel Costes in Paris

What is your favourite drink? Chateldon/Pol Roger

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? Shark fin, it is sooo cruel

What flavour combinations do you detest? Chocolate and salted liquorice, a Finnish thing, it's a love/hate relationship

Which person in catering have you most admired? Pierre Koffmann

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration? Pierre Gagnaire

Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take? My iPad, Champagne and eyelash curlers

What daily newspaper/website do you read? BBC News and Financial Times

If not yourself, who would you rather have been? Barbra Streisand

What do you always carry with you? My make-up

If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you'd be now? I would have worked hard to be a brilliant domestic goddess with five kids

What's your favourite film? Casablanca

Describe your ultimate nightmare Waking up late in the morning… Aaargh!

When and where was your last holiday? Finland in August

What irritates you most about the industry? Chauvinism

Who would play you in a film about your life? Ingrid Bergman

What is your favourite food/cuisine? French

Who would be in your fantasy brigade? Pierre Koffmann, Pierre Gagnaire, Tom Kitchin, Abel Vielleville (pastry chef at Shangri-La Bejing), Pawel Flajzer, my protégé who worked for me for seven years (who passed away in August) and Jyrki Sukula, a legendary chef from Finland

If you had more time, what would you do? Spend it with my two beautiful daughters, Sofia and Ella

Helena Puolakka, executive chef, Skylon, London

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