Helena Puolakka, originally from the south-west coast of Finland is the new Executive Chef at Skylon. Helena creates exquisite modern cuisine using Finnish, British and French ingredients and techniques refined over her career.
During Helena’s 22 years working in kitchens she has worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Pierre Koffmann, and in some of the world’s greatest kitchens including three-Michelin-Starred French restaurant La Tante Claire in London and three-Michelin- starred eatery, Pierre Gagnaire in Hotel Balzac, Paris.
Helena originally joined D&D London in 2007 as Executive Chef at Skylon where she stayed for six years before moving on in 2013 to be Culinary Director for Cirrus Inns and two years later in 2015 to the Royal Opera House restaurants until 2017. Helena has gone back to where she started with D&D London and has taken on the position of Chef Patron at Skylon.
Helena’s upbringing has had a direct impact on her cooking style; she spent long summers in Archipelago of Finland ‘foraging, fishing and living off the land’ from a young age which was when her dream of becoming a chef started. Her main inspiration came from her mother and grandmother but her cooking skills and passion for seasonal produce came from her time working with Koffman, Gagnaire and Ramsay. Her professional career started in Paris at Pierre Gagnaire where she was taught traditional skills used in French cooking which can be seen throughout her dishes. Staying true to her heritage, Helena uses Scandinavian produce such as Arctic char and sea buckthorn mixed with British ingredients to create distinct flavours not found elsewhere in London.
“Working for Pierre Koffmann for five years has been my true apprenticeship to fabulous cooking” Helena Puolakka