We are very excited to introduce to you Selin Kiazim. Remember this name as Selin is considered one of London’s leading young chefs. With several finalist positions in Young Chef of the year and National Chef of the Year, her year to be at the top of her game is coming… along with her dream to have her own restaurant. Find out more about Selin via her website www.selinkiazim.com or follow and tweet her on Twitter at: @Trinkets86
Selin, a big congratulations to you! You are enjoying a rising career with a bronze in the Culinary Olympics in 2008, finalist in BBCs Young Chef of the year in 2009, finalist in Spanish Chef of the year and finalist/semifinalist in National Chef of the Year 2010,2011 & 2012. You say you like competitive cooking. Will being a part of regular industry cooking competitions be something you plan to do throughout your career and if so why?
No, not all through my career. The only competition I’m interested in winning at the moment is National chef of the year. It has been a goal of mine ever since catering college so I would love to finally do it, this will be my 4th year of entering so who knows!
You were Head Chef at award winning Kopapa Restaurant and seen as one of London’s leading young chefs. You have really rocked the professional kitchen by excelling in what is usually seen as a male dominated industry. Where there any times that you had to ‘prove’ yourself in any way because of being a woman?
I think when I took the job as Sous Chef at Kopapa I felt intimidated at times working with quite a few boys, being 25 and female I felt as though I had to prove myself to them with my knowledge and cooking ability. But, it was mainly a case of just growing in confidence. Once I establish that in myself, everything became a lot easier. Previous to Kopapa I worked at The Providores which was a female dominated kitchen at times so I think I expected the same at Kopapa.
Do you have any dreams or plans about mentoring more women in the industry?
I wouldn’t say dreams or plans but I certainly prefer working with young female chefs, so the chances are it will happen at some point. There are a couple of young female chefs I left at Kopapa who I would love to work with again but we will just have to wait and see where everyone ends up.
What high profile chefs have you worked with and who gave you the best tip and what was it?
Peter Gordon is the only chef I have worked for and he must have given me a million tips in the time I worked for him but I would say that having fun in the kitchen is the biggest he has given me, everyone cooks/creates better when they are happy.
After your TV debut at an early age on BBCs Young Chef of the Year – would you consider having your own cooking show?
I guess if the right offer came up maybe but my priority is to have my own restaurant first so its not really something I am thinking about.
Where was the last place you ate out and what did you have?
At Fino last weekend. I had turbot, crisp pork belly, oxtail empanada & the most delicious baby gem salad!
What is your favourite Local Restaurant?
Can’t say I really have one. But, my favourite places to dine out are Fino & Barrafina.
Which dish do you enjoy making?
Bulgur wheat koftes. It is a bugur wheat casing with a spiced mince filling rolled into a lemon type shaped and then deep fried. They are rather time consuming but incredibly delicious!
Which chefs do you most admire and who would you like to work with in the future?
Probably Miles Kirby, Chef owner of Caravan Exmouth & Kings cross. He was my old chef at The Providores. I have nothing but admiration for him and his partners for building up their business through pure determination and brilliant creative skills. He is a real example for me.
Without giving away any trade secrets, is there a simple recipe that you would like to share with our readers?
Here is a quick recipe for an aubergine and lentil salad: Aubergine_lentil_salad_recipe_by_Chef_Selin_Kiazim.
You’re now in transition to take your next dream step in your career… your own Restaurant in 2014. Will it be in London and what culinary style and atmosphere will your diners be delighted with?
Well without giving too much away I’m actually going to have my name above the door of a brand new restaurant opening in East London this year. It is not entirely my creation but it is a great opportunity for me to learn everything before I completely go it alone someday.
Watch out for Selin who is currently cooking at her Trinkets Restaurant Pop-Up series touring around London. Details on her locations are on her website. Thank you Selin and we wish you the best in your new ventures!