From kitchen helper to
Creative Head Chef
The inspiring story of Joonas Maunula
Creative head chef Joonas Maunula has been with us for 12 years. We asked him about his journey, his passions and goals.
Article has been published 23.2.2022. Subject to changes.
Who is a Creative Head Chef and why do we need one?
The main tasks of a Creative Head Chef are managing new menus, procuring products, and coming up with, gathering and executing great new ideas. Joonas mainly organizes the making of new menus for our ships and sometimes creates a few menus himself, too. He handles assortments, communications and manages the overall concept of our restaurants.
From the shore to the seas
Joonas’ professional journey onshore started as a summer kitchen helper. Joonas was good and quick, he worked his way up to a sous-chef position in restaurants onshore. But as the wind changes directions, Joonas likewise felt the need to change his course.
He had often thought about working on a ship and the exciting challenge of feeding hundreds, even thousands of people at once. In 2011, Joonas decided to take a leap – he called the head chefs of Silja Europa and Silja Symphony and, lo and behold, he got an offer as an extra cook on Silja Europa, which he, of course, accepted.
Before living the dream, Joonas had to go through the Silja Academy program. Having completed that successfully, in 2012, he started working as a Chef and a Sous-Chefs replacement onboard Baltic Princess. A couple years of hard work later, Joonas was offered a permanent position as the sous-chef of Silja Serenade. And as the star he is, already next year, he became the head chef of Galaxy. Only one big leap was left for Joonas, and it came true five years later – in 2022 Joonas was promoted to creative head chef of Tallink & Silja Line.
Three qualities of a Chef
During his time as a chef, Joonas has gathered much knowledge about the field. In his opinion, the three most important qualities of a chef are, firstly, punctuality and time management, because no one's time is worth more than someone else’s. Time is the most valuable currency we have, he says, we shouldn’t waste it.
Secondly, curiosity. The culinary world is always bustling, always exciting, always new. It’s a challenge to keep up with it, but a challenge every chef should face head on with an open mind and heart.
And lastly, resourcefulness. The kitchen is a vortex of unplanned mysteries, unexpected turns, both good and bad surprises. A chef’s job is to manage the chaos and do it well.
The spatula doesn’t come home after work
Outside of work, Joonas is a father to three wonderful children, who absolutely adore Joonas’ macaroni casserole, meatballs, stews and seafood. “It takes years to perfect a recipe your kids will not only agree to eat but also enjoy it”, he smirks. He also makes a mean omelette and is overall a pro with egg dishes. Chef's tip: in spring and summer, spice up your omelette with asparagus, in autumn, throw in mushrooms.
Aside from cooking, Joonas loves photography, spending time in nature with his family, and music. Fun fact: when he was younger, he used to be a drummer in a band, and they were even making somewhat of a breakthrough. But Joonas’ heart called for food.
The kitchens of the future are green
We asked Joonas, what are his plans for 2023 with the Tallink & Silja Line food and beverage department. “In the upcoming years, I’d like to make Tallink & Silja Line more sustainable and use more local ingredients. This way we can do our part of becoming a greener company and reducing our ecological footprint, producing less waste etc. Overall, my goal is to make Tallink & Silja Line more environmentally friendly, and I am confident we can do it!”
To indulge in Joonas’ creations, book a trip here: