The Turku Menu Competition Offers a Chance for the Chefs of the City to Shine


Turku Menu competition was organised for the first time already in 1985. The latest competition in the old form was organised in 2007 and the competition was revived after a hiatus of 12 years in 2019.

‘There were several cooking competitions organised in Finland in 2007, and as a result the participants seemed to be a bit tired of them, so we decided to have a longer pause’, says Competition Manager Juha Pokka.

Pokka, who participated himself to the competition in the beginning of the 90s, started to plan the reorganisation of the competition a while ago together with another winner of the Turku Menu competition, Harri Lindstedt.

‘The new competition is open to all restaurants, cruise ships, and educational institutes in Turku. The membership of the Finnish Chef Association is not required. In 12 years, many new talents have entered the restaurant scene in Turku, and we want to take all of them in the competition’, Pokka says.

Backed up by the City of Turku

The competition has been organized already almost ten times and the participation has been made as easy as possible because the meals can be prepared in advance by the whole kitchen of the restaurant. Only a couple representants are sent to the actual competition to finalize the dishes.

The primary goal is to offer new kind of visibility to the restaurants in Turku. The restaurants in Turku are mostly operated by small businesses, and Pokka feels that they have deserved all the attention they can get. In addition to the local chef association in Turku, Turun Keittiömestarit ry, the Turku Menu competition is supported by the City of Turku and by the city’s Eat my Turku website, which will present the menus of the top three restaurants of the competition.

‘The city invests a lot in trying to improve the position of Turku as a culinary city, which is why it also supports the Turku Menu competition. When we add to this the fact that the annual meeting of the Finnish Chef Association will be organised in Turku in 2021, our operations have a strong continuum’, Pokka says.

Finnish Ingredients and Top Jury in the Competition

The competing teams prepare a dinner with three dishes from the best national ingredients which have been decided in advance. In 2019 the jury included three big names from the Finnish restaurant world: Pekka Terävä, Hans Välimäki and Per-Erik Silver. The corresponding policy with the top judges of the competition is a yearly tradition.

‘Even if the competition is always tight, it is not meant that the restaurants compete against each other. There are also contacts built and the cooperation is enhanced both between the restaurants and the producers and the suppliers while inspecting what kinds of dishes are prepared by the others in the city’, Silver told about the background of the competition in 2019.

‘As far as I know, there aren’t any equal happenings like this in the other cities where the chefs would have the opportunity to get out of the kitchen, to communicate in person with the others and to do networking with each other’, Terävä praises.

The local chef association in Turku, Turun Keittiömestarit ry. stipulates in its rules and regulations that the culinary culture is cherished and that the knowhow of its members is developed further. The Turku Menu competition achieves these goals perfectly!

Read more (in Finnish) on the Turun Keittiömestarit website:


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