Shetland makes star appearance in James Martin’s Islands and Highlands show

TV chef James Martin visited the “remote and magical Shetland Islands” during the final episode of of his Islands to Highlands series last night.

Martin, who also hosts Saturday Kitchen, filmed his visit last year, before the Covid-19 lockdown.

His trip took him on a culinary tour of Shetland, including salting fish at Thule Ventus, checking out the vegetables at Transition Turriefield and a traditional afternoon tea at Bigton Community Hall.

And the chef seemed impressed with what he found.

“I’ve fallen in love with Shetland,” he said.

“I really have, it’s a spectacular place.”

After touching down at Sumburgh Airport, he met a member of the Shetland Classic Car Club to pick up a 1980s Ford Capri for his travels.

Martin then visited Lerwick, where he took inspiration from the busy harbour to whip up a quick lobster omelette.

His next destination was a visit to Penny Armstrong at Transition Turriefield.

James Martin with Penny Armstrong of Transition Turriefield, as seen on Islands to Highlands. Picture by ITV.

After learning about the project’s aims to encourage  folk to grow their own veg and become more sustainable as a local community, Martin made the most of the local produce for a vegetable curry.

Next up was a trip to learn about traditional fish salting at Thule Ventus, near Cunningsburgh.

And finally, he called into Bigton Community Hall, for Sunday tea, where he was impressed by the spread – and the number of visitors.

“It’s the hub of the community,” he said.

In an interview with Promote Shetland, Martin told of how he hoped the current lockdown would encourage more people to buy food produced in this country.

“We need to support the producers, the farmers and the fishermen, he said.

“We’re too reliant on supermarkets and hopefully now we’ll rely again on butchers, bakers and fishmongers.”

Martin explained that while his first series saw him visit Orkney, he wanted to explore further in his latest series.

“Jersey was first on the list and second was Shetland and that’s where we started and finished filming,” he said.

After his visit, he said he was blown away by its beauty.

“I’ve never seen a place like Shetland,” he said

“It was like being born with new eyes. The colour and the light is something I’d never witnessed. Phenomenal. The houses, the colours… It just blew me away.”

Islands to Highlands can be viewed on STV Player.


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