The ELO Foundation’s Food Culture Award 2018 to John Nurminen Foundation’s Local Fishing Project and Restaurant Nolla

This year, ELO Foundation’s Flying Saucer Food Culture Awards were awarded to two pioneers of Finnish gastronomy, the Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation and Restaurant Nolla. The aim of the Local Fishing Project is to promote the use of the Finnish roach fish for food. Until now, it has not been used to full capacity in Finland. Restaurant Nolla is the first properly scrap-free restaurant in the Nordic Countries, with a focus on the best local organic production.

The Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation – making use of the tasty roach fish

The Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation will help reduce eutrophication of coastal waters and blue-green algae, while presenting new opportunities for fishermen and providing healthy domestic food for consumers. The sustainable fishing of the roach fish also increases the living space of other fish, such as predatory fish, thus balancing the structure of the fish species. ”This year, fishers participating in the project caught almost 200,000 kg of roach fish and bream in total. By doing this, they removed 1.5 tons of algae-feeding phosphorus from the sea,” says Project Manager Miina Mäki.

“One of the main objectives of the John Nurminen Foundation Local Fishing Project was to introduce the sustainably caught roach fish to the dining tables of consumers. This was achieved last year, as they managed to bring the Pirkka Archipelago Fish Patty to the supermarkets with Kesko. Eating fish caught sustainably from the Baltic Sea is a smart and tasty act against climate change,” Mäki continues.

The Local Fishing Project will end at the end of 2019. ”The production chain still contains uncertainties and involve many small operators. In the coming year, our main goal is to ensure that sustainable Local Fishing products remain in stores even after the project has ended. Consumers and establishing demand play key roles in achieving this goal, and this award is a great help,” Mäki concluded as she accepted the food culture award.

Restaurant Nolla – striving for zero waste, offering organic local food

The goal of the zero-waste restaurant in Helsinki, Restaurant Nolla, is to change the whole restaurant sector. The desire of the founders of the restaurant, Carlos HenriquesLuka Balac and Albert Franch, to open a zero-waste restaurant was born out of frustration with the way restaurants tend to deal with waste. Direct cooperation with producers, designers, engineers and architects enables Restaurant Nolla to strive for reduced waste from raw materials and packaging materials to maximised water and energy efficiency. They prepare delicious food using seasonal ingredients, and their wine list offers wines produced by small, organic producers. ”It is a great pleasure to be able to showcase the best Finnish raw materials in a new light,” says Luca Balac.

”Finnish food culture is developing at a dizzying pace, thanks to the visions and cooperation of passionate professionals. In addition to our own activities, our aim is to inspire and challenge other players to strive for zero waste. Every now and then, famous top chefs who have the courage to accept our challenge visit our restaurant. The zero-waste attitude requires learning, sharing information and working together, but it is also fun and profitable,” says Luka Balac.

Flying Saucer – Food Culture Award

The aim of the annual award, presented by the ELO Foundation, is to demonstrate the variety of Finnish gastronomy through actions and operators. The ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture draws attention to the pioneers that make our food culture more interesting in Finland and internationally. Winners of the annual Flying Saucer awards are selected by the board of directors at the ELO Foundation. They include chair person Leena Saarinen, vice chair person Heikki Antolainen, along with Kasperi SaariMaria PlantingHarri KoskinenLasse LehtinenAri LahtiRafaela SeppäläPekka TeräväVesa LehtoAki Wahlman and Heikki Valkama.

For more information, please contact

ELO Foundation
Executive Director Bettina Lindfors
+358 40 920 9810

Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation
Project Manager Miina Mäki
+358 50 576 3298

Restaurant Nolla
Luka Balac
+358 44 334 4439

Photos from the ELO Gala held on 12 October 2018 will be uploaded here. (Photos by Emilia Kangasluoma)

Image on the press release: The winners of the Flying Saucer Food Culture Awards, the Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation and Restaurant Nolla. The photo shows Miina Mäki from the Local Fishing Project of the John Nurminen Foundation, Luca Balac from Restaurant Nolla, and Bettina Lindfors from the ELO Foundation. Photo by Emilia Kangasluoma