„This Victory Has Set a New Benchmark for Us“ Innovative, sustainable and flavorful: the Finnish team puts together its menu according to these principles. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

The 26th IKA provided guests and participants with unforgettable memories. We spoke to some of the chefs about their IKA experiences. This time, Katja Tuomainen, Team Manager of the Finnish National Team, reveals how the members felt after their victory, what taking part in the IKA meant to them and what’s next for the team.

Interview Anna Häuser  Photos IKA/Culinary Olympics, Matias Haapsaari (Portrait)

Katja, Finland became Olympic champion in the National Teams category. How did you feel when you came home from the IKA 2024?   

Katja Tuomainen Nm Finland

Coming home from the IKA 2024 as Olympic champions was an overwhelming and humbling experience. The warmth and pride with which we were received by our countrymen filled us with immense joy and a deep sense of accomplishment. It was a moment that not only celebrated our victory but also the hard work, dedication, and passion that went into achieving it. The feeling was indescribable, a mix of relief, happiness, and the realization of a dream we had worked tirelessly towards. 

You took home the victory from the IKA – and the golden toque statues from RAK. Where are they now?   

The golden toque statues, symbols of our victory at the IKA, now have a special place in our training facility, serving as a constant reminder of our achievement and the high standards we’ve set for ourselves. They’re not just trophies; they’re a source of inspiration for the team and everyone who visits. I can assure you they’re cherished and prominently displayed. 

Preparing the three-course menu.
Preparing the three-course menu.

What did taking part in the IKA mean to you?  

Taking part in the IKA was an incredible honor and a profound responsibility. It meant representing Finnish culinary art on the world stage, showcasing the innovation, sustainability, and depth of flavor that Finnish cuisine has to offer. It was a platform for us to challenge ourselves, learn, grow, and ultimately, contribute to the evolving narrative of global gastronomy. 

How would you summarize your menu or your culinary strategy in three words?  

Our menu and culinary strategy can be summarized in three words: Innovative, Sustainable, and Flavorful. These principles guided every decision we made, from the selection of ingredients to the presentation of dishes, ensuring that we stayed true to our roots while pushing boundaries. 

After the IKA is before…? What’s next for your team?  

After the IKA, the journey doesn’t end; it’s just the beginning of a new chapter. The next step for our team is to build on this success, continuing to innovate and inspire. We’re now focusing on the upcoming World Championships in Luxembourg in 2026, where we aim to not only defend our title but also to elevate our culinary artistry even further. This victory has set a new benchmark for us, and we’re excited to see where our passion, creativity, and commitment to excellence will take us next. 

Thank you! 

Video Impressions of the IKA 2024

At the Chef's Table, the team members serve the guests.
At the Chef’s Table, the team members serve the guests.
Olympic champions: cheers of joy at the IKA award ceremony.
Olympic champions: cheers of joy at the IKA award ceremony.









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