Hello: Miia Oksanen | Plant-Based Retreat Chef
About Miia Oksanen, plant-based chef
I first came to Vale De Moses as a guest back in 2015, in search of tranquil place to restore and reboot. It was love at first sight, and ever since this beautiful valley and the beautiful hand-built home of the Winter family has held a very dear place in my heart. I returned in 2018 first as a volunteer and then as the retreat chef. I love cooking here, amidst the mountains and trees with the surrounding nature as my biggest inspiration.
I grew up in Finland, surrounded by pristine, abundant nature, forests and lakes. Being in Vale de Moses is like home and springs such inspiration in me. I grew up foraging berries and mushrooms from forests, catching fish and crayfish from lakes.
The quality and freshness of ingredients has always been of most crucial importance to me when cooking. At Vale De Moses we are spoiled with the most amazing, vegetables, fruit and herbs that nature has to offer. My childhood memories and my upbringing in this Finland still plays significant part shaping my cooking today.
I grew up in a traveling foodie family, baking and cooking all my childhood and went to pursue my passion for cooking at a professional level studying in Helsinki Culinary School, Perho. Whilst studying I worked in some of the best fine dining restaurants in the country.
After graduating I headed off into the world to explore the different cultures and cuisines making my way around this beautiful globe. I have spent significant time living and learning within different countries and cultures. I have worked my way around from the beaches of Thailand and Indonesia to the mountains of Nepal and Myanmar, to the midst of multi-faceted and incredibly complex Japanese cuisine, learning with local chefs whilst I went.
After my solo travels I moved to London to study Anthropology where I have lived the past three years. Whilst studying I have also started working as a plant-based chef, and maintain a plant-based lifestyle myself. My special interest lies in vegan cakes and sweet treats, which I create at the cafe of LEVELSIX yoga studio in Peckham, South London.
Both my continuing travels around the world, as well as my Finnish roots continue to shape and develop my cooking whilst also taking influences from the present. More and more I aim to incorporate Ayurvedic principles in my cooking, in order to create food that is healing and nourishment for your soul and body.
My food philosophy is to cook mindfully letting the beauty of the ingredients I use shine, and whilst I nuance with a slight touch, I do not try to make them something else they are not. For me cooking is a way of sharing my love and a means to show care to my loved ones.
I cook with joy, love and good, positive energy, as I believe the energy that is used in cooking transfers to the food and is responsible in part for the taste. Food is not only a substance to satisfy your stomach, it is also for the soul and I aim that my food leaves you with an inspired mind, satisfied soul and a bright smile in your heart and on your face.
See more of Miia’s cooking on Instagram.