Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Selin Kiazim, London and South East heat

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th August 2018

Meet the Great British Menu 2018 chefs from London and South East: Selin Kiazim

This year Selin Kiazim from Restaurant 1251, takes on James Cochran and Scott Goss in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2018 banquet which celebrates 70 years of the National Health Service. This year’s brief is to create celebratory and heartfelt dishes in tribute to the heroic staff of the NHS.

Selin Kiazim at the pass at Oklava

Selin Kiazim on the

pass at Oklava

Selin always knew she would end up in the food industry, citing her family and particularly her grandparents as early inspirations. After studying at Westminster Kingsway College Selin’s first job was working with Peter Gordon at Providores in Marylebone which led to her becoming head chef for the sister restaurant, Kopapa. She is now the co-owner and chef of Oklava which takes its name from a rolling pin used to make breads, pastries and pides. In June 2018 she also opened her latest venture Kyseri.

In Great British Menu 2017, she got to the banquet with her dessert which featured rose water, peach and strawberries.

Why did you want to take part in Great British Menu again especially as you got to the banquet last year?

I love a challenge, and although last year was incredibly difficult and stressful to be a part of it was also incredibly rewarding!

This years’ theme is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS – how easy was it for you to come up with dishes to be served at the anniversary banquet?

I found this year’s brief difficult, it was hard to come up with dishes that had the right meaning and that would be worthy of reaching the banquet in honour of the truly incredible people who are a part of the NHS.

What does the NHS mean to you and how rewarding is it to possibly cook your food for these incredible individuals?

I am so proud to live in the UK where we have our national health service, I think we all end up taking it for granted at times but when we need help they are always there for us. 

How difficult is it to cook in the Great British Menu kitchen alongside other chefs?

It is very difficult indeed. We are all professional chefs at the top of our game, it is never going to be easy to outcook the chefs next to you. It is always fascinating to see how everyone interprets the brief as well, I think everyone has a moment of ‘I wish I had thought of that’!

You have previously competed in Great British Menu - how does this year’s competition compare?

This years in some ways was easier as I knew what to expect but, in some ways, harder. Being a returning banquet winner means everyone turns to you and the pressure is on your shoulders!

Do you feel that your previous experience in Great British Menu is an advantage?

Yes, because you know how it all works, but not so much of an advantage that it makes much of a difference, with every year comes a new brief and its whether your cooking hits that brief.

What was the best part about being on Great British Menu 2018?

I love the challenge of really pushing myself to create original, interesting food. Coming up with the menu and meaning behind those dishes is where the whole thing is won and lost in a way.

Were there any negative parts to being on Great British Menu?

I mean it’s not great on the stress levels! But, really it is something brilliant to be a part of.

How did you find the criticism and being judged?

I think I deal with it quite well, it is never easy to be judged or criticised but as a chef you are used to it day in day out. Food is a lot about personal tastes and preferences, it is important to understand that as a chef.

Were you more nervous about being judged by the veteran chef or the judges?

More nervous of chefs. Chefs are very critical, we have to be!

Do you have any standout memories during your time on Great British Menu?

Having a cheeky laugh with my veteran judge!

Would you take part in Great British Menu again?

No, this is the last one for me.

Would you encourage your peers, colleagues and chef friends to take part in a competition like Great British Menu?

Yes absolutely, honestly everyone has a chance on it and it is a lot of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th August 2018

Great British Menu 2018 chefs - Selin Kiazim, London and South East heat