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Fazer's cooking school serves up a delicous dinner

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During the autumn, groups of volunteers, active young people, and visitor families of SOS Children’s Villages take their turns in creating a delicious three-course meal under the guidance of professional chefs.

At the Fazerila teaching kitchen, red onions are sizzling in vinegar on a pan under the watchful eye of Irmeli Sahlberg. She is preparing a side dish for their main course of hamburgers. Like the thirteen other volunteer step-grandmothers and step-grandfathers, Irmeli is spending the afternoon at Fazer’s Cooking School learning new tricks from a professional chef.

“This is such a lovely bonus. I never thought that volunteers like us would be pampered like this,” says Sahlberg as she stirs the onions.

This afternoon’s attendants volunteer weekly at SOS Children’s Villages’ Mummun ja vaarin tupa (“Grandma and Grandpa’s Cottage”). There, they play with children and cook food while giving parents a moment of peace and peer support.

Group management skills in order

Jussi Ikävalko, the Fazer visitor centre’s chef, has his hands full answering questions about the best ways to cut fish, taking out the rubbish, and the thickness of the dessert mousse. Calmly, he solves all the issues and reminds the participants to always wear a safety glove when using a knife.

On the dessert station, step-grandfather Antti Viitasaari is piping sweet mousse into bowls as another step-grandfather, Markku Heikkilä, and an employee of SOS Children’s Villages, Jonna Kutvonen, lay down layers of biscuits and sweets for a trifle.

“It’s marvellous just to spend time with children, even though you know that everyday life isn’t always that easy.”

Antti, who volunteers at the Karakallio and Myyrmäki branches, says that the best thing about volunteering is enjoying the company of small children and discovering new things about yourself.

“It’s marvellous just to spend time with children, even though you know that everyday life isn’t always that easy.”

A cheery chitter-chatter fills the room when delicious fish sandwiches, hamburgers, and trifles are enjoyed at the dinner table. Inspired by the Cooking School, one step-grandfather is already planning a burger party for Mummun ja vaarin tupa.

Fazer offers food experiences

As a corporate partner of SOS Children’s Villages, Fazer also offers Cooking School sessions to other groups at SOS Children’s Villages in addition to step-grandparents. Active participants of SOS-Kehittäjänuoret, as well as families visiting Mummun ja vaarin tupa, have also attended Cooking Schools.

“Fazer has traditionally taken responsibility for the wellbeing of local communities,” says Liisa Eerola, Head of Communications for Fazer in Finland and responsible for Fazer's partnership programmes. “We bring a little extra joy, well-being, and love to people. This is realised in our work with SOS Children’s Villages. We strongly believe the family is an important asset in the individual growing up as a balanced adult.”

Fazer also made SOS-Kehittäjänuoret’s autumn meeting possible by providing facilities for the young people’s work in addition to the Cooking School and a visitor tour. More than twenty young people participated in the weekend.

“I’ll work here when I grow up”

In groups for children and adults, recipes have been simplified, but everyone can take part in the cooking. This Cooking School’s participants include families who visit Mummun ja vaarin tupa in Espoo and Vantaa.

Ten-year-old Aleksei fell so much in love with Fazerila that he plans to get a job at Fazer when he grows up.

In this group too, ketchup is made from scratch and 11-year-old Milja is making sure that it doesn’t burn.

Dessert bowls are filled to the brim with sweets, biscuits and sweet mousse, and more chocolate must be melted for the rocky road treat. The children are making the most of their time at Fazerila.

Ten-year-old Aleksei fell so much in love with Fazerila that he plans to get a job at Fazer when he grows up. “I could do a computer job, but maybe I could still eat a few sweets from the conveyor belt?”