Christmas on St Helena
Although it is now the end of January I thought it might be of interest to tell you about the Christmas celebrations on St Helena before we get to the end of this month!
Traditional is the key word here with family get togethers reaching a high point on Christmas day itself.
The island’s population increases by up to 1000 people which considering we are only 4000 on island at the moment, is no mean feat. Most of the visitors are Saints who travel from the UK, Ascension Island and the Falklands to be home with their loved ones. As getting here is a long and arduous and expensive exercise people
usually return home every three or four years and stay for around a month. The island has a real buzz to it with
the town’s restaurants and bars a focus point.
Parades are another highlight of the season, which gets the island’s children really excited for the festive season. There are at least two parades each year, one for Christmas Eve and the other usually by the schools to raise money
for one cause or another. Dressing up is obligatory, both people and vehicles as I think you can see by some of
We opened the restaurant facility on the 19th of December, only a week behind schedule (Three Phase installation was more challenging than perceived). The decor has been enhanced by a set of fabulous oil paintings of the local endemic Ebony plant. These have been loaned to us by Michel Martineau and his partner JJ who also gave advice on the colour scheme and how to make something look fantaistic with minimal resources!
We have signed up around 25 trainees of all ages and requirements. Some will go the full term and start a formal qualification as soon as we can get one off the ground, others are looking to top up their skills and learn food and beverage skills from a Five Star Perspective.
The numbers so far are above our predictions which is fantastic, there have also been approaches from local businesses and the hospital to ask whether they could hook up to some of our training sessions.
Our menu is simple and relies on best quality ingredients, preferably local, which are paired with other ingredients in order to enhance the overall dish. It changes with availability of items although at the moment
we are doing pretty well with lovely local beans, beetroot and tomatoes.
Here is an example:
Hummus with crudités
Tomato and local Thyme Soup
Smooth Chicken Liver Pate
Pan fried Rump Steak with creamy mash, beans and carrots
Local Tuna with Sauce Vierge and Cauliflower puree
Butternut Pilaf with black beans and Avocado
Fudgy Chocolate Cake
Rice Pudding with nectarines
Passion Fruit trifle
Julia training up table settings
As the trainees become more confident (and more equipment arrives from the UK) so we will increase the number of choices on the menu and guests in the restaurant (at the moment we are taking around 18 persons a night). We have only been open for five nights so far and have received excellent feedback, not only from the
customers but from our trainees.
Long may this continue!