Q+A with Filippo D’Amico, Co-Founder and Chef at Hills Dumplings, Helsinki

 

On my second day in Helsinki, I had an amazing lunch at Hills Dumplings and also met “the dumpling dude” himself. Besides being a great chef, he is also originally from Australia so, of course, we had a lot to talk about.

Thrilled that he agreed to do a Q+A for the blog. And I must say, it’s one of my absolute favorites.

 

Read on below.

 

How did you become the dumpling dude?

  • By accident. Edward Szechi (my business partner) literally just called me the “Dumpling Dude” the first day we opened the restaurant and it just stuck, like dough. 

What are people most curious about when they see your title?

  • I get asked “Why Dumplings?” Or “how many can you make in a hour/day?” Sometimes people ask “don’t your fingers get sore?”

You’ve lived in Helsinki for how long?

  • I’ve been living in Helsinki since January 2017, so 1.5 years.

What is the biggest misconception people have about Finland?

  • I think the biggest misconception about Finland is about the Finnish people. The culture here is a little “no nonsense” and that can be misconstrued by some as the people here are cold or selfish. Finns are very genuine and forthright people, it can just take longer to break the ice and peel back the layers compared to the people in Australia.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

  •  I think it would be great to instantly know every language on earth fluently. I’m a very social person and I’d love to not have any barriers to communicate with anyone in the world. Of course I could just get a library card and get studying, but that wouldn’t be very super.

Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?

  • My two grandfathers and my grandmother (on my fathers side). My grandfathers unfortunately passed away when I was quite young and also one of my grandmothers a few years ago. I’d love to cook them a meal and sit them down and talk to them now that I’m an adult and hear their stories and learn more about my heritage.

What’s your hidden talent?

  • I can make amazing pizza, like seriously.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

  • I wanted to be a waiter, and my parents laughed and said “that’s not a real career”.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

  • Be smart in your 20’s and invest/save your money. That way you’ll enjoy your 30’s and 40’s a lot more. I also would have taught myself how to do my own taxes, just basic life skills.

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?

  • I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to be an expert in something to enjoy doing it. The enjoyment comes from doing, not necessarily knowing all there is to know about the thing you’re doing. Both my brothers and my father are engineers, I think it would be great to be an expert in that so we could maybe build something together.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

  • Never take things for granted. Enjoy every moment and be thankful because tomorrow things could change.

If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose?

  • Honest, dedicated, loving

Who are your role models or mentors?

  • My mother- she’s just the most funny, generous and supportive person I know.
  • My father- inspires me when I hear how hard he worked throughout his life.
  • My brothers are my mentors, they teach me so much.
  • My wife is my role model, everyday she’s the person I try to be more like in lots of ways in my life.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

  • Opening this restaurant in Helsinki would probably be the biggest risk. Edward and I don’t even speak the Finnish language and here we are creating a unique restaurant on the other side of the world. 

Best place for a cocktail in Helsinki?

  • Holiday Bar, they have THE BEST sunny terrace to enjoy a cocktail. Such good vibes at that place every time. The cocktails are on point. 

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