DISCOVER OUR STORY
A SPACE FOR CREATIVITY AND THRILLING CULINARY EXPERIENCES
Kasvio is a long-time dream come true, born from my passion for plant-based cooking, for the benefit of our health, the planet, and animals.
After years of working as a chef at vegan restaurants alongside talented, forward-thinking colleagues, I decided it was time to create something of my own. A space where ambitious vegan chefs could unleash their creativity for a better food future.
The way I see it, what we eat is always connected to stories and memories. I respect that and I’m less interested in disrupting those ties than I am in creating new kinds of connections to our food histories. As a chef, I find it much more rewarding to show you can eat a plant-based diet whilst staying connected to the familiar things from your past.
The name Kasvio — herbarium in Finnish — echoes my Finnish background. During my childhood in Eastern Finland, I used to wander the fields and forests collecting and identifying plants for my herbarium.
Today, I look at my ingredients in much the same way. I familiarise myself with them, investigate their characteristics and experiment with transforming them into thrilling culinary experiences for our guests.
Mari Pitkänen, Chef
A common vision
MEET THE TEAM
We’re a small team of chefs and front-of-house staff united by our ambition for plant-based cooking.
We all have different backgrounds, love collaborating in a fun and supportive environment and look forward to elevating your vegan dining experience to a whole new level with our original recipes.
I got into cooking because I was fascinated by my grandmother’s skills when it came to making fresh pasta — my absolute favourite food to this day.
Connection with the food I cook is very important to me. I’m from Maremma, Tuscany, so I often employ Mediterranean flavours. Few things make me happier than creating a plant-based version of a traditional dish and seeing people enjoy it.
What really lights me up is the creative process of pairing flavours and perfecting the appearance of a dish — turning ingredients into an enticing piece of art.
Working at Kasvio is a dream come true for me. Not only are we on a mission, but there’s so much respect, friendship and teamwork in the kitchen. The fact that we’re an international team also boosts professional growth because we’re always learning from each other. I’m regularly blown away by something new one of us is making with ingredients I’ve never seen before.
The Metaal Kathedraal garden is also a great bonus. I love to cook with what’s available and the fresh herbs and flowers we pick from the garden are a perfect way to add flavour and freshness to just about any dish.
I originally studied anthropology and had a side job working at a food waste restaurant in Amsterdam.
After graduating, I realised I wanted to become a chef instead. I approached the head chef of the restaurant to see if he’d be interested in training me. He saw potential in me, said yes, and that was the start of my career in cooking.
Diving into plant-based cuisine opened my eyes to the variety of vegetables and the importance of cooking with the seasons. When you have a narrower range of ingredients to work with, you really need to lean into your creativity.
I’m fascinated by seasons in general and enjoy connecting to the annual cycle — especially through food. I collect wild edible plants and fungi and love discovering what grows in my environment each season.
I draw creativity not only from the cooking traditions in my native Finland but from the variety of natural environments. For me, it’s interesting to take a particular environment, like the dunes in the Netherlands, and think about how I could recreate it on a plate.
I love working at Kasvio because there’s a feeling of real solidarity in the team. We help each other regardless of our roles. I also appreciate the down-to-earth approach to plant-based cooking. While the restaurant is vegan, it’s not touted loudly. Instead, we let the delicious, high-quality food speak for itself.
My journey with plant-based patisserie started about ten years ago. I was vegan, but it was difficult to find vegan cakes and desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth. So I started making them myself. After several years of experimenting and honing my skills on my own, I decided to train as a pastry chef at an accredited institution.
Thanks to my studies, I now have the skills to make the most imaginative sweet vegan creations possible. I’m always up for discovering new ingredients and flavours that suit the seasonal menus. I’m currently in the process of mastering vegan macarons and meringue.
For me, a vegan treat needs to be just as much a treat as a non-vegan version. My goal is to make my desserts just as indulgent and full of flavour as the traditional ones people are used to.
I’m incredibly inspired by the collaborative creative process of the kitchen team at Kasvio. I love how we lean on each other’s strengths and draw inspiration from each other. We’re always levelling-up our skills, trying out new things and improving the dishes on the menu.
art at kasvio
The art direction for Kasvio is a collaboration between chef Mari Pitkänen and curator Staci Bu Shea.
Both Mari and Staci share a deep appreciation of food as a means of telling stories and bringing friends together.
With artist Asia working on the interior design, the two created a sensuous environment of artistic collaboration that supports the food served and Kasvio’s core concept: the experience of collective dining.
unique place to experience
kasvio ecosystem: DISCOVER METAAL KATHEDRAAL
Kasvio is located at Metaal Kathedraal, a unique ecological cultural laboratory working at the intersection of art, science and design.
Kasvio is part of the growing ecosystem of Metaal Kathedraal, a living lab that hosts intercultural events, maker spaces, a herb garden, a mushroom farm, a circular outdoor expo and a bakery.
Kasvio provides in-house catering for Metaal Kathedraal. Besides functioning as a cultural ecosystem, Metaal Kathedraal can also be rented for your own event.
All the bread used at Kasvio is lovingly baked right next door at Bakkerij Amadeus, the first artisanal bakery in Leidsche Rijn. Run by former opera singer Maurice Rommers, Amadeus is known for their top-quality sourdough bread made according to French baking standards.