Michelin-starred chef Joseph Trivelli has been brushing up on his bannock-making skills and learning about sassermaet ahead of the second “Shetland Night in London”.
After the success of her first event, Helen Nisbet – originally from Yell – is busily planning another islands showcase in the capital on Sunday 5th May.
River Café chef Joseph will be cooking alongside Anna Tobias of the Rochelle Canteen, while live music will be provided by Shetland’s talented musical sisters, Jenna and Bethany Reid.
Helen said there had been a waiting list of people unable to get tickets for the November event, attended by 50 people, so she was “really keen” to do another one.
It demonstrated “how intrigued people are with the notion of Shetland and the incredible food we produce”, and for those who have a connection to the islands showed “just how strong that is when they are far from home”.
She said Joseph had really enjoyed the first night: “He was especially impressed with Christopher Thomason’s mussels which he grilled and served with rye breadcrumbs, and which people ate with their fingers while they waited for soup and bannocks. And I think everyone loved getting a tray of lovely slow-cooked mutton to carve up at their tables.”
Helen has been talking to both chefs about next month’s menu. She bought Joseph a copy of Cookery for Northern Wives from the Shetland Times Bookshop for Christmas and he has been “enjoying reading about sassermaet, stap and learning new techniques for bannocks in preparation”.
She is delighted, too, that the Reid sisters will be performing: “I’m sure anyone who is there and hasn’t heard of them will be blown away by their talent and charm. Jenna and Bethany are fully briefed to cater for a ‘spree’ and I’m hoping for even more dancing this time, including an ambitious dream for a seamless eightsome reel – which might be tricky, even with expert Shetland dancers!”
Paying tribute to the support of Promote Shetland, the SIC and individuals such as Thomason and Ruth Henderson, Helen added she hopes the nights will help to promote Shetland in London and beyond.
“I hope doing these nights will lead to many more opportunities and much more interest in our produce and hospitality,” she said.