Hans Välimäki is an internationally recognised chef and the owner of six restaurants. In Helsinki, Välimäki runs Rikhard von Trappe, a Belgian-style bistro, the eight-seater fine-dining restaurant Välimäki, and the Midhill hamburger restaurant at the Linnanmäki amusement park. Välimäki's restaurants in Tampere are the Belgian-style bistro August von Trappe, the Masu Asian Bistro, and the Midhill at the Särkänniemi amusement park. People in Finland know Välimäki from Finnish TV shows such as Hansin matkassa (“Hans’ Travels”), Suomen paras leipomo (“Finland’s Best Bakery”), Top Chef Finland, Haasta Hans (“Challenge Hans”) and Hansin grillibileet (“Hans’ Barbecue Party”).
Välimäki is a quick-tempered and impatient guy, whose chronic tardiness and near-cynical world view do not make him the easiest person to get along with. During his career, he has antagonised a legion of his colleagues, as well as innocent bystanders, with his outspoken opinions, and the motormouth shows no signs of toning down. Like all chefs, Välimäki is particularly sensitive to criticism. Usually, however, he knows what he is talking about – at least when the talk is about food.
In his free time, Välimäki travels around in search of top restaurants. There are few, if any, other Finnish chefs besides Välimäki who are better in touch with what is happening in fine-dining restaurants around the world. Food and restaurants are not only his profession, but also his passion and hobby. As a dining companion, Välimäki is annoyingly analytical and picky. He rarely gives praise, which makes him the perfect restaurant critic.
For Välimäki, the key to cooking lies in the ingredients. The ingredients must taste as good as possible the moment they are served. As a chef, Välimäki enjoys the seasonality of foods: his favourites are asparagus and wild herbs in spring, new potatoes in summer, and shellfish when the waters cool down. For Välimäki, the most mouth-watering dilemma is to discover how to use an ingredient for preparing a dish in a simple manner, with maximum taste.