In 1994 Silla Bjerrum was headed towards a career in academia when she fell in love with sushi while working for Chelsea boutique sushi bar Nippon Tuk. Silla immediately showed a flair and affinity for the cuisine and proceeded to visit the sushi capital Tokyo regularly to explore the culture and cuisine and hone her skills.
Silla co-founded Feng Sushi, which opened its first restaurant in the summer of 1999. Sustainability, health, nutrition and seasonality were at the core of the business from the outset from bio-degradable packaging, recycled oil to bio-diesel fuel and a strong emphasis on provenance and sustainability of the fish and other foods. Silla spent her first 8 years developing the menu, training a full brigade of chefs and focusing on kitchen and HR. In 2008 Silla took over as Managing Director and oversaw all operations and the opening of the 3 most recent sites. In late 2014 Silla returned to her preferred role as Executive Chef to be close to the food with a view to leaving in July 2015.
During Silla’s tenure at Feng Sushi the brand evolved into a 9 outlet strong group in prominent locations across London, serving up to 8000 customers a week and running a successful home delivery service along with eat in, catering and events. For her work with Feng Sushi, Silla has been awarded two prestigious prizes: the City of London Prize for Sustainability in 2011 and 2012 as well as the SRA’s (Sustainable Restaurant Association) Prize for Innovation following the launch of a very successful 6 season menu. On both occasions Silla had the honor of being presented with the prize by Raymond Blanc. Silla was awarded in May of last year with the Marine Steward Council prize for Chef of the Year for work done to put local species like herring and sardines back on the menu.
The 6 season special menu has been a real labor of love for Silla, travelling across the UK to source the best quality sustainable fish from small, local fisheries and farms. Silla believes sushi choices should be based on what fish is available locally and seasonally, as this is not only the best option environmentally, but also best for health, nutrition, texture and flavor. Many of Silla’s most recent dishes, both sushi and Japanese, are inspired from these travels and close relationships with producers and fishermen.
Silla has both participated in and judged the prestigious 7 Sushi Samurai competition and has worked closely with various fish bodies for a better future for fish eaters such as Fish2Fork, Sustainable Seafood Coalition, Marine Steward Council, The EJF Foundation and Billingsgate Fish market.
Silla is a keen sushi teacher and is permanent staff member at the excellent Billingsgate Seafood Training School delivering a very popular sushi course on a regular basis. Silla has also taught regularly at Divertimenti, Richard Bertinet, Leith’s School of Catering and has various corporate clients like HolroydHove, Microsoft, Ichiban, Hotel Poponi on Lamu to name a few. Finally Silla has participated in various pop ups, food networks and dinners, most prestigious are the James Beard in NY and The Oxford Food Symposium.
Silla published her first book Simple Japanese in 2008 with Quadrille.
Silla currently works on her new website, catering events,
pop ups, teaching and as a consultant to the sushi trade .