Skip to main content

Our Alumna Emmiina Lehtonen: Playing chef in childhood was an omen of future profession

Published on 26.10.2021
updated on 25.11.2021
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Emmiina Lehtonen istuu pöydän takana ja hymyilee kameralle
TAMK’s alumna of the year Emmiina Lehtonen is not quite an ordinary restaurant professional. How many have participated in the international Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs competition successfully? Or been chosen as the Young Chef in Finland? How many have international work experience? Emmiina has all of these: a diverse study and work experience and several competitions behind to give wings to her entrepreneurship journey.

When other students cooked macaroni in their student flats, Emmiina turned risotto into a gourmet meal. It is still her bravura. Now she plans recipes and photographs meals for food industry companies in her own company.

In her childhood, she loved playing a restaurant chef whereas other girls played traditional home plays. In the comprehensive school, Emmiina completed her practical training in a restaurant, which confirmed that she had found her field. Her journey continued to TAMK and Tampere, Emmiina’s favourite city. 

Developer of the field already during her studies

Emmiina is a good example of a developer of the field already during her studies. As a bachelor’s thesis, she made an insect food menu for TAMK’s Catering Studio. The thesis project included a tasting event. Insect food was then recently legalised in Finland.

“My topic divided opinions then,” she states. 

After a couple of years, the insect food boom calmed down. But Emmiina continues her new way of thinking and working: she plans recipes for food industry companies. Her work includes plenty of writing and photography.

“The hospitality management studies teach about the field in a comprehensive manner, which helped me in starting my business. The bachelor’s thesis trained me for my present-day work, which includes plenty of writing.”

In Emmiina’s opinion, university of applied sciences studies give diverse bases for the hotel and restaurant field and offer even surprising opportunities. 

“Thanks to TAMK, I gained great opportunities. I completed my practical trainings in a three-star Michelin restaurant Maaemo in Oslo and one-star Chef & Sommelier restaurant in Helsinki and my exchange studies in Kyung Hee University in South Korea. I was also able to participate in the Finnish and international Youth Chef competitions.”

Simplicity and ecology are also worthwhile in cooking

Emmiina has a simple guideline for cooking.

“I want to make a bit better food easily. The cornerstones of my cooking are good-quality ingredients in season and clear tastes with emphasis on the ingredient’s natural taste,” she specifies.

Emmiina has many good tips on saving money for student life.

“Select seasonal vegetables and red-sticker products in shops. Prefer flea market products to new products. It is rewarding but also ecological.”

Emmiina recommends those dreaming of hospitality management studies to reach for their dreams and be brave and apply.

“If I had not applied to the university of applied sciences, my career path would have been quite different. For me, TAMK is a possibility to reach for dreams and support their achievement,” she rejoices.


Link to Emmiina’s website


Photo: Jaakko Saarilampi


Here you can read other alumni stories