Restaurant Mami: Quality and local food

In a fine restaurant, cleanliness is vital and hygiene essential. Mami, a restaurant in Turku, favours local food and suppliers because the owners find it important to support the local economy. However, they never compromise on quality.

The founders, Mikko Piipponen and Marko Rauhala, started dreaming of starting their own restaurant while working in one of the best restaurants in Finland, Rocca.

“We calculated on grid paper how many customers the restaurant would need in order to make a profit. We realised that we could not possibly run it alone, so we asked Sari Espola to join us,” says Mikko Piipponen.

That also gave them the name for the restaurant: Mami and the boys.

But where to find a good place for a restaurant? One day, as Mikko and Marko were walking along the river, Mikko sighed and said that our restaurant would fit in well right there. The address was Linnankatu 3, where Jyrki Sukula’s restaurant Via had just closed down.

Their research showed that it was definitely not a feasible location for a restaurant because in Turku – or so people said – the zone for profitable restaurant operations was limited to two blocks from the Market Square. However, after a moment’s thought, the restaurant professionals decided to take a risk, and Mami was opened on May Day 2007.

In 2008, Mami was voted as the 8th best restaurant in the country – the only restaurant outside of Helsinki to reach the top ten.

Function first

In the restaurant’s dining room, the customers are relaxing, but the kitchen is busy and bustling. The cook sweats at his frying pan, the chef plates food and the waiters carry the plates from the kitchen to the tables. Every now and then, someone wipes down the countertops. Despite the rush, the kitchen is sparkling clean.

For the customers, good hygiene is an essential part of safe dining. Today, the risks of restaurant facilities are judged through Evira’s Oiva assessment system, where smileys inform consumers of the restaurant’s hygiene performance.

Municipal food control authorities inspect the cleanness of restaurants and the cleanliness of their workspaces. For example, work hygiene habits, the hand hygiene of the employees and work clothes are thoroughly monitored.

“Hygiene requirements are strict. The food inspector’s visit opened our eyes, and we have since renovated the restaurant to have double doors and are very careful about appropriate workwear and protective equipment,” says Mikko Piipponen.

Cleanness is at the core of all activities.

“We keep things clean while we work,” says Chef Jouni Virtanen. “We constantly wipe down surfaces and also clean the kitchen twice a day. On Saturdays, everything loose is carried out and the kitchen is cleaned from top to bottom.”

Mami uses Kiilto’s washing agents to wash the kitchen counters, sanitary facilities and laundry as well as descale the coffee machines. The restaurant’s cleaning plan was drawn up based on instructions provided by Kiilto.

“Kiilto is a long-term partner that we already worked with at Restaurant Rocca. We still use many of the same products,” says Mikko Piipponen.

Mami’s philosophy is to favour local suppliers in ingredients and cleaning supplies alike. Supporting the local economy also means that Mami can get products from Kiilto as needed, since the restaurant’s small premises do not allow for the storage of large amounts of detergents.

“The most important thing is that the cleaning products work well and are safe to use,” says Chef Jouni Virtanen.

“In a fine restaurant, cleanliness is vital and hygiene essential,” say Mikko Piipponen, Marko Rauhala and Jouni Virtanen of Restaurant Mami.