Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Selin Kiazim, London/South East

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2017

Meet the Great British Menu 2017 chefs from London/South East: Selin Kiazim

This year Selin Kiazim takes on Tom Kemble and Mike Reid in a bid to make it through to the Great British Menu 2017 banquet which celebrates 140 years of Wimbledon. This year’s brief is to create dishes that capture ‘a taste of summer’ paying tribute to the history and prestige of the Wimbledon Championships. 

Selin studied at Westminster Kingsway College before getting her first job in the industry at Providores in Marylebone. After this, she took on the head chef role at their sister restaurant, Kopapa. Selin is now the co-owner and chef at Oklava, working with Laura Christie who she met at Ember Yard. Their Shoreditch restaurant serves modern dishes, inspired by Selin’s Turkish-Cypriot heritage.

Selin Kiazim, chef and coowner, Oklava, Great British Menu 2017 London and South East
Selin Kiazim

Why did you want to get involved in Great British Menu?

I was approached two years prior to be involved with the programme but it never quite worked out, so this was third time lucky. I have been watching the show ever since it began and I am a big fan, so when the opportunity came up it was one I couldn’t turn down.

How tough is it to come up with dishes which fit the brief?

It’s incredibly tough. I have never struggled so much to come up with a menu. I wanted it to be perfect. It needed to fit the brief but also represent me and my cooking, so I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. I found that I was going round in circles when trying to think up the menu, but I was happy with what I put together in the end.

>>> Related: Selin Kiazim, Co-Owner, Oklava

Did you feel under pressure to create theatrical dishes rather than well-cooked dishes served simply on a plate?

It wasn’t so much pressure to produce theatrical dishes, but I chose to include a little theatre to tie in with the brief. I wanted the inspiration, taste and look to all tie in, which is incredibly hard!

Did you enjoy being pushed out of your comfort zone, and how difficult is it to cook in the GBM kitchen alongside other chefs?

I don’t know if I can say I totally enjoyed being pushed out my comfort zone, it's pretty uncomfortable at times! But, it is a lotGreat British Menu - Selin Kiazim of fun. I loved cooking with the other chefs, and obviously had a lot of curiosity as to what they were producing and how they interpreted the brief. It’s also very intimidating cooking with such skilled chefs though!

What were the best and worst parts of being on GBM?

 I love creating food. I think creating a menu for Great British Menu is pretty much the ultimate challenge for a chef, so I loved that and being able to bring those dishes to life on the programme. The worst is probably the pressure - I heaped it on myself and having a camera always there means there is nothing you can hide!

Would you do it again?

 I think so. I’m a little torn, but I did love doing it.

>>> Find out about all of the Great British Menu 2017 chefs here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2017

Great British Menu 2017 chefs - Selin Kiazim, London/South East