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Sam Yaffa: Bourdain loved making Finland episode

Sam Yaffa, a former member of one of Finland's most successful rock groups, Hanoi Rocks, tells Yle what it was like to host celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

Sami Yaffa
Sam Yaffa took Anthony Bourdain in search of the 'real Finland.' Image: Yle

”I was shocked to hear of his death—this came out of nowhere,” said Yaffa who was Bourdain's local guide for the filming of the travel and food show "No Reservations" in Finland in 2012.

Television personality Anthony Bourdain killed himself in a French hotel room on Friday. He was 61.

”He was interested in everything, and our shared interest in travel and music helped us become good friends,” Yaffa told Yle.

The "No Reservations" Finland episode centred on Finnish ’exoticism.’ The celebrity chef took a ride on Helsinki’s pub tram, had blood drained from his back through cupping therapy at a local sauna, and his expedition to Finland's culinary heart brought him to a boozy dinner with a Finnish family. He also sampled blood sausage and made an after-hours trip to a grilli kiosk, where Bourdain tried to find the meat in a Finnish meat pie (lihapiirakka).

”He was not at all interested in any fine dining places, he had his own way and that’s what made him so successful,” Yaffa added.

While some Finns criticised the episode for enforcing cultural stereotypes, Yaffa said Bourdain loved making the segment, landing into his personal top ten.

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