Mojakka (MOY-a-kah)

Sponsors of the
Mojakka Cook-Off

Northeastern Hotel & Saloon

Northern Printery

All-Star Awards

Bergquist's Gifts

Franklin Foods

Arco Coffee

Perkins Restaurant

The Pantry

Priscilla Harvela
Stanley Home Products

Thank You!

6th Annual St Urho's Day Mojakka Cook-Off

1st Place Kalamojakka

Brenda Denton used her culinary skills to again capture the trophy in the Kalamojakka category.

1st Place Potluck

"Pizza Ken" Waletzko was awarded first in the Potluck category.

People's Choice

Gary Ekman's Kalamojakka recipe won the People's Choice trophy once again.

Sunny late-winter weather brought out the Finns to sample the efforts of eight mojakka chefs. Here are the overall winners. (judges' comments in italics):

  • 1st Place Kalamojakka
    Bushwacker's Mojakka
    , Brenda Denton, Duluth. Brenda, who also won the kalamojakka category in 2006, made her version of last year's winning kalamojakka. "Difficult choice as both entries were good. The winning choice had a full-flavored broth, good fishy taste, and some butter flavor. Nice balance with only potatoes."

  • 1st Place Lihamojakka
    Beef and Venison.
    Keith Bong, Cloquet, MN. Keith modified an old family recipe, using both beef and venison. "Broth was closest to a traditional mojakka. Most allspice flavor of the four entries in the category. Good mix of vegetables with tender beef."

  • 1st Place Potluck Mojakka
    Ken Waletzko, Willow River, MN. Ken was a first-time participant at the mojakka cook-off. As owner of Kettle River Pizza in Askov, he is used to creating new dishes. He used smoked salmon flavored with capers and stuffed olives. "Quite a medley! Intriguing smoky flavor."

The Gary Ekman People's Choice Award is based on voting by those in attendance. Three soups dominated the balloting, with Pat Ekman taking home the trophy for "Grampa Gary's Kala Mojakka" made with lake trout. Her granddaughter assisted in the cooking. The award is named for Pat's late husband, Gary Ekman, a two-time winner of the People's Choice Award. It was his recipe that won for the third time.

Mojakka recipes can be as varied as the Finnish immigrant families that populated the area around Lake Superior. That variety shows in the soups served at the annual mojakka cook-off. In addition, creative chefs make up their own recipes based on the basic formula of root vegetables in a meat or fish broth and flavored with allspice and peppercorns. The participants (in no particular order) were:

    Beef (Lihamojakka)

  • Carl & Bernie Lundberg - "Kicked Up". Flavored with several bottles of Grolsch beer. Carl said, "It was the closest we could get to Finnish beer."
  • Mark Edwards - "With a Little Help From My Friends". Restaurateur Edwards got this recipe from a friend. Mark owns The Exchange Deli and Bakery in Duluth's Board of Trade building.
  • Keith Bong - "Urho's Favorite". Traditional recipe handed down from Urho Rooni, Linda's grandfather. Mostly beef with some venison added.

    Fish (Kalamojakka)

  • Pat Ekman, Esko - "Grampa Gary's Kalamojakka". Two-time winner of the People's Choice Award wins it again.
  • Brenda Denton, Duluth - "Bushwacker's Mojakka". A past winner in the category who made a version of kalamojakka from the recipe of the 2007 trophy winner.
  • Judy Whittington - "Northeastern House Kalamojakka" (not eligible for judging, but captured a few People's Choice votes.)

    Potluck (Non-traditional)

  • Fred Anderson, Cloquet - "Caribou Mojakka". Made with Canadian Caribou "harvested" by Fred.
  • Ken Waletzko, Willow River - "Smoked Kalamojakka". Smoked Salmon & whitefish, capers and stuffed olives with a salmon spread on crackers served alongside.
  • Diane Sargent, Saginaw, MN - "Cock-a-doodle Mojakka". Home-grown, free-range chicken mojakka flavored with dill.

Friends of Animals The Friends of Animals Humane Society of Carlton County, Inc., and their animal shelter in Cloquet were the beneficiaries of this event. Over $700 was raised for the charity.

Winners were awarded trophies created and donated by All-Star Awards of Cloquet. Other contributors included:

- Posters. Northern Printery, Cloquet
- Trophies. All Star Awards, Cloquet
- Milk & butter. Franklin Foods, Duluth.
- Location for the Cook-off, bowls, spoons, bread, etc. Bert & Judy Whittington, Northeastern Hotel, Cloquet.
- Promotion. Tim Winker, Wink Timber Media Agency
- and

Door Prizes:

  • Perkins Restaurant, Cloquet
  • The Pantry Restaurant, Scanlon
  • Bergquist's Gifts, Cloquet
  • ARCO Coffee, Superior, WI
  • Priscilla harvela, Stanley Home Products, Esko
  • Friends of Animals, Cloquet

    Mojakka Judges:

    • Connie Wirta, features editor, Duluth News-Tribune
    • Dean Levanen, former winner
    • Olli Rahkola, FinnFest 2008 committee.

    News coverage

    [ Home ] [ Submit a recipe ] [ Recipes ] [ Finnish Dining ]
    [ News ] [ Calendar ] [ Links ]

    Comments about this site: cookoff @

  • This page copyright © 2008 by Wink Timber Media Agency