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"Opposites attract" they say, and in this case it's proven right. To put their history short, the gents met through food adventures around the world, naturally, and decided to do that more often together. Half a year later they were caught planning their first restaurant.
In March 2015, Richard McCormick & Ville Relander opened the doors to The Cock, all-day full-of-life brasserie-style restaurant and bar. Year later it was time for another opening. Holiday Bar, which right away during the first Summer claimed its place as one of hotspots of the city.
For the third restaurant, Yes Yes Yes, they partnered up with Alex Nieminen, a hungry entrepreneur at heart and soul. Combination of a sharp CEO (founder of N2, a marketing communications group working with leading local and global brands) and a wine and vegetarian food connoisseur (co-authored the bestseller cookbook Vege).
Early 2020 the fourth restaurant & bar will be opening "on the other side of the bridge", in Kallio, Helsinki's Brooklyn as some say.
But referring to the opposites attracting each other, there are also a lot of things they share besides a shared vision of a what great restaurants are all about: Neither one of them speaks Finnish as mother tongue, they're equally crazy for playing tennis (Ville has a very solid forehand drive, but Richard's backhander can surprise you) and they love ordering their wines by the glass.
Richard McCormick (the wavy-haired one) is a chef, restaurateur, food designer, artist. A creative soul.
Richard has lived and worked in Southeast Asia, USA, Denmark, Spain, Russia, London and Morocco. This über-multicultural background can also be seen in his thoughts on food and cooking. There are no limits restricting his work, which is a fusion of taste, texture and colour.
For the past 20 years his home base has been Helsinki and he has brought all his knowledge, ideas and inventiveness to the the local restaurant tables. His career in the culinary field began already as a teenager and ever since includes working in kitchens all over the world, publishing much loved cook books, mixing cocktails behind bars, playing records in night clubs, catering for numerous A-list events, pioneering in street food trucking and playing big role increating food concepts for restaurants like Sandro, New York Ninja, Siltanen, Nolla and Shanghai Cowboy.
Ville Relander (the not-so-wavey-haired one) has always had his heart beating for restaurant culture.
Ville holds not only the title of Finnish amateur champion in oyster shucking, but also an MBA in international hospitality management from Cornell University and has also graduated from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. They missed him so much at Haaga they nominated him as Alumni of the Year 2017.
His roots are strongly in the hospitality business, with former creative positions in retail, markets, events, hotels, restaurants and bars, both locally and internationally. Against all odds he even became a city official in 2011, when he was assigned as the Project Manager of Culinary Culture Strategy of the City of Helsinki.
Big part of his work back then was promoting the great city of ours from the food culture point of view and establishing Teurastamo, Helsinki's meat packing district. Now with Hawaii, he's actually doing the same thing, just being more hands-on in developing, visionizing, designing and shaping the Helsinki field.
Ville & Richard are of course not running the show alone. There are more than 100 members in the great Hawaii family. Each restaurant has its dedicated Restaurant Manager and Head Chef leading the troops of magic makers. Hawaii's core team also includes Kaisa Männistö, responsible for restaurant operations and Jonna Vormala, heading all marketing and sales.
Hawaii is owned by the restaurateurs and NoHo Partners Ltd.