Top chef Ants Uustalu surprises the performers at Gaudeamus with delectable dishes made with local ingredients


Top chef Ants Uustalu, who has worked in London and now runs the Ööbiku gastronomy farm in Rapla County, has made it his mission to offer the performers at Gaudeamus delicious meals made of good quality local Estonian ingredients.

Describing the menu, Ants Uustalu says that he will offer all the best old Estonian hits with a modern take, and his main goal is to serve food made of clean and good quality ingredients that would look really appetising.

“We want to offer the food that has been grown by our great farmers to participants from Estonia, as well as our guests from Latvia and Lithuania. Our menu has already been set – simply put, it’s all the good old Estonian foods, but with a mode modern take,” commented Uustalu.

“The main challenge is to offer a great dining experience fast and in a short time to more than 4000 people. The whole logistics of it is a test in and of itself – how do you guarantee that everything is ready on time, that the food would be fully nutritional, and that it would also look appetising,” Uustalu said when listing the challenges involved with feeding so many performers at once time.

The performers of Gaudeamus will not be served “soldier’s soup”

“Food has to give you energy. That is why we are using as many ingredients produced by local farmers as possible and taking into consideration the needs of the participants. Even though the usual soups at the song and dance festivals are filling, we also want for the participants to get a more special experience from Estonian food. When putting the menu together, we also thought about the vegetarians and vegans, and took into consideration people’s special requests and intolerances towards certain foods,” added Uustalu.

What is on the menu for the performers?

June 21, Thursday

  • beef stew (grass fed beef from Liivimaa Lihaveis) with roasted vegetables
  • vegetarian option: roasted vegetables
  • water, fruit drink

June 22, Friday


  • Nopri farm yoghurt with fresh strawberries and muesli
  • meat pie / vegetable pie
  • cranberry jam and almond roll
  • coffee, tea, milk, fruit drink


  • minced meat moussaka, with grated cheese, slightly baked zucchini and potato mash
  • vegetarian option: zucchini casserole with cheese and tomato sauce
  • salad made of fresh vegetables
  • bread pudding with raisins
  • milk, fruit drink, water
  • black bread, white bread


  • chicken thigh meat in a honey mustard marinade, served with creamed potatoes
  • fresh vegetable salad
  • vegetarian option: bell pepper stuffed with mixed vegetables
  • Nopri farm curd cheese cream
  • fruit drink, water
  • black bread, white bread

June 23, Saturday


  • mixed grains porridge with toppings
  • strawberry jam, grated cheese
  • large pizza pretzel
  • apple roll with raisins
  • coffee, tea, milk, fruit drink


  • yellow pea soup with smoked pork, Russian mustard and croutons
  • vegetarian option: yellow pea soup with croutons
  • apple berry crumble
  • fruit drink, water
  • black bread, white bread


  • pita stuffed with pulled pork and slaw (cabbage, kimchi, parsley mayo)
  • vegetarian option: pita stuffed with seasonal vegetables
  • Nopri farm selection of new smoothies
  • black bread, white bread
  • water

June 24, Sunday  


  • okroshka – cold kefir soup
  • cheese roll, pastry with halvah
  • coffee, tea, milk, fruit drink


  • baked chicken with buckwheat, with a tarragon and parsley cold sauce and a fresh vegetable salad
  • vegetarian option: vegetable lasagne with cheese
  • Nopri farm kama and hemp cream
  • fruit drink, water
  • black bread, white bread


  • sandwich
  • fruit
  • spring water

Photo by Heikki Leis. Ants Uustalu’s portrait from the photo book “Estonian Master”. Support printing the book at Hooandja!