Aster’s Executive Chef Helena Puolakka hails from the south-west coast of Finland, which has shaped her style of cooking, focusing on uncomplicated, homemade food and distinctive flavours. Her Nordic background also instilled in her a sense of location and an expression of this through food. Her French culinary training adds a completely different dimension to dishes, introducing exquisite technique and breadth of knowledge. She sums up her style of cooking as Nordic/French, and this combination is evident in every dish offered at Aster.
Aster marks a return to D&D London for Helena, who originally worked for the group as executive chef to launch Skylon, where she stayed for six years until 2013. In recent years she has worked as chef director for the luxury pub company Cirrus Inns’ Epicurean Collection and Company of Cooks, whose portfolio includes The Royal Opera House, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy. Her previous experience also includes working as head chef at Pierre Koffmann’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Tante Claire and with Pierre Gagnaire at his eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant at Hotel Balzac in Paris.