Responsible local food prepared by a top chef

How wonderful would it be to enjoy a gourmet dinner in the privacy of your own cottage while world class chef Ilkka Arvola creates the perfect meal for you and your party? Now is your chance to experience an unforgettable dining experience, where haute cuisine is combined with local flavors and a relaxed cottage atmosphere.
Arvola is one of Finland’s best-known chefs, whose food and drink philosophy is based on local food and responsible cooking. He has worked in top Finnish restaurants and gained international experience in London. He has also appeared on television in several food programmes.
Now is your chance to have Ilkka Arvola cook for your party on demand. He will design and prepare a delicious, custom-made, local food-centered meal according to your wishes. For example, you can choose a four-course menu using ingredients from local producers and local farms. In addition, the food is prepared using self-caught fish and mushrooms and berries carefully picked from the forest.
If you prefer to cook for yourself, Arvola can also organize a “local food” cooking course for your group. (However, we would recommend informing us of this well in advance). More information about the cooking courses can be found at the bottom of the page.
Ilkka Arvola’s Cooking Courses and Chef on the Spot services are organised in cooperation with the local company Uhkua Oy. Ilkka’s local food can also be ordered delivered directly to the villa.

An example of a four-course menu

Marinated night water fish and herb salad
Wild mushroom cappuccino
Roasted lamb filet from Putkisalo Manor, artichoke puree and Brussels sprouts
Warm Le Negre chocolate cake, wild berries and vanilla cream
Arvola is particularly known for promoting the use of local food and responsible cooking. All dishes are prepared using ingredients from local producers, such as self-caught fish, self-picked mushrooms and berries from nearby forests and produce from local farms.This means that the food is fresh, delicious and locally produced, so you can enjoy your meal with a clear conscience.

Focus on good company atmosphere and food

When Arvola comes to cook, you can focus on enjoying each other’s company and delicious food. He brings all the ingredients, utensils and cooking tools needed, so you don’t have to worry about anything other than getting in the mood and enjoying yourself.
This is a great opportunity to surprise friends or family with a memorable dining experience. Experience a unique taste of local flavors amidst the lake scenery of Mäntyharju. You can also of course order the food to be delivered if you prefer that.
Price list:
  • 4 course menu with chef on site = 150 € / person (min. 8 persons)
  • 4 course menu delivered to the cottage = 108 € / person (min. 8 persons)

Cooking course with a bachelor party, for example

In April 2023, we hosted a bachelor party of 17 people at Villa Vita, for whom Ilkka Arvola’s Cooking Course was organised. We received a lot of good feedback, but what was the cooking course all about?

Everything always starts with the customer's wishes

Asta Aalto from Uhkua Oy explains how the cooking course was delivered:
“In our cooking courses, everything always starts with the customer’s wishes and requests and Ilkka then builds the menu based on those. The next step is to start the other preparations, which include, among other things, sourcing ingredients according to the number of people. This time we had a pretty big group of participants, but not all 17 people were involved in the cooking”
Asta explains that when you divide the work between 8 and 12 people, everyone can participate in the cooking, so that everyone can still have something meaningful to do. This time 12 people were involved in the cooking.
“Everyone was really enthusiastic! We divided the group into different areas of responsibility so that one small group was responsible for the starter, one for the main course and one for the dessert. There was also some outdoor cooking and for example the pike steaks were cooked on the terrace on the Kamado grill. We also opened up a bit about our company philosophy and the local food ethos.”
The real highlight, according to Asta, was of course when the group got to taste their own creations.
“At this point, we let them play in the yard for a while while we organised the serving side. As it was a slightly larger group, an extra table was brought in. We took care of serving all three courses, so the group could concentrate on enjoying good food and great company.”
Asta says this is just one example of what a cooking class can be like. For example, cooking with a smaller group on an outdoor fire could be fun. This was a good activity for a larger group.
“As for the equipment at Villa Viida, there are plenty of bowls, cups and utensils. As a rule, everything a professional needs for cooking is available at the cottage.”

The whole bachelor party enjoyed the experience and the surroundings

Best Woman, Henna-Riina Kokko praises both Villa Viita and Ilkka Arvola’s cooking course.
“Everything went really well, both for the host and the food. Right from the communication. The answers came quickly and there was flexibility. When we had more overnight guests than originally planned, air mattresses and such were brought in. All in all, there were 17 of us and we fit in very well and the weather was fine. The courtyard area was really big and there was room for both the terrace and the side of the pier.”
Henna-Riina says that the cooking course was a nice part of the programme. The preparations were done while the bachelor party spent time outdoors:
“They got there about an hour before our part started. They set the cups and skips in place, so they were ready when we came in.”
Henna-Riina says that the facilities were also perfect for the cooking course.
“There was a big kitchen and terrace, and even though there were more than 10 people cooking, there was no feeling that anyone was in the way.”
The group was divided into three groups, with plenty for everyone to do and the chef helping out at every stage as needed.
“We were divided into starter, main and dessert groups. We did everything from chopping to making the food ourselves. Some things had to be cooked for less or longer and the chef helped everyone as needed.”
In the end, the whole bachelor party got to enjoy the food they had made themselves, served to the tables.
“When all the food was done, we went outside for a while to hang out and the guys from Uhkua prepared everything and served the food to the table, so all we had to do was enjoy and sit.”
Henna-Riina had a really good feeling about the trip and she says that everyone else had a great time too:
“This was obviously a really good experience for everyone, because many people were already talking at the villa that it would be nice to come to Mäntyharju in the summer anyway.”
Come and enjoy an unforgettable local food experience at Villa Viita!