Local Chefs Put New Spin on a Classic
Story and Photos by Brooke Towle
Almost everyone in Thunder Bay is familiar with the Hoito’s classic Finnish pancake, and as a celebration of the restaurant’s 100th anniversary, the chefs in the Hoito kitchen have decided to switch things up a bit. “We wanted to do something that re-inspires us,” says Paula Haapanen, president of the Hoito board, adding that it’s also an opportunity to bring the community together.
The idea behind the “Pancake Hack” is to each month get a chef from a different restaurant to use the original and timeless Hoito recipe and come up with their own spin on it. “They can’t alter the actual recipe, but add to it. Make it different,” says Haapanen. This was something that Haapanen’s family did frequently throughout her childhood, so she’s happy to bring the idea to the Hoito.
So far, the Hoito has featured two pancakes—one created by The Crew on May filled with a bacon and date marmalade, drizzled with honey, and topped with blue cheese, and a spinach and ricotta filled pancake topped with blueberry agrodolce and toasted pecans from Nook. “We’ve always done different pancakes before,” says Hoito manager Christine Brezden. “But having other chefs just brings a whole different dynamic, and you can feel the generosity and inspiration going on in the kitchen.”
In addition to having a rotating roster of tasty new pancakes on the menu, the Pancake Hack also “turns the competition into co-opetition,” says Haapanen. “And that’s what I think is the best part.”