Danish by birth, Silla Bjerrum, childhood holidays spent by the sea in Denmark. It was then that Silla learnt the simple pleasure of good locally sourced food (seafood in particular), prepared with care. This important lesson informs everything she does as a restaurateur and chef.
Although planning to be an academic, Silla took a job at a Japanese eatery in London and fell in love with sushi. Her natural flair as a chef led her to co-found Feng Sushi with Jeremy Rose in 1999. Silla then built on her basic sushi making skills by travelling to Japan to learn more.
Right from the start Silla introduced seasonality and sustainability to the menu at Feng Sushi, using the best ingredients, such as sustainable salmon, line caught mackerel, local crab and hand dived scallops. Health and flavour go hand in hand at Feng Sushi; vegetables are an integral part of a menu that reflects a European palate without losing the Japanese vision. Silla supports sustainable fish farming and is active in the dialogue about the future of fish and fish farming.
Silla has the technique and skills of a traditional sushi chef but is more interested in modern interpretation of this ancient cuisine. Feng Sushi chefs use top quality fish, skilfully cut but prepared in an individual rustic style that emphasises the quality of the ingredients and flavours. There are now eight restaurants in the Feng Sushi group and quality and consistency is of paramount importance.
Accolades and inspirations
Silla was the first woman to be invited to the prestigious 7 Samurai Sushi Competition in 2008 (she also judged the competition 2 years running 2003-2005), she teaches at Leith's, Divertimenti and Billingsgate and speaks regularly about sushi and sustainability, (most recently at The Sustainable Seafood Awards 2009 at Billingsgate). Silla actively supports the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and has spoken on Japanese TV about the crisis of endangered Blue fin Tuna. Feng Sushi is a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, founding member of the fish2fork Chef Club and most recently won the Sustainable City Awards 2011/12 for the food category.