BigHospitality rising star Selin Kiazim to quit Kopapa to pursue restaurant dream

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef

Selin Kiazim will leave her job at Kopapa at the end of the month to pursue her dream of opening her very own restaurant
Selin Kiazim will leave her job at Kopapa at the end of the month to pursue her dream of opening her very own restaurant
Kopapa head chef Selim Kiazim, highlighted as a rising star by BigHospitality in 2008, is to leave her job at the end of the month to start on plans to open her own restaurant.  

Twenty-seven-year-old Kiazim, who has been leading the kitchen at Peter Gordon's Covent Garden restaurant for a year, plans to host a series of pop-ups and appear at festivals this summer to try out her Turkish fusion concept before settling down with something more permanent next year. 

She said: "I'm really grateful to Peter for the opportunities he's given me, but I feel like it's time to move on now and get started with my own thing.

"I was at Kopapa from day one and have seen it grow into what it is now and I've had the experience of running a kitchen and know what goes into it, so I'm ready to give it a shot myself." 

Turkish fusion

Kiazim, whose parents are Turkish Cypriot, says her aim is to combine her heritage with what she has learned in her career so far. 

"The style of food I've cooked at Providores and Kopapa is fusion and that's what I know, but I've had a lot of influence from my family and I'd like to take some of that influence into what I do," she said. 

"Turkish Cypriots love cooking over open charcoal grills and I'd love to have a place with an open kitchen where I could cook over charcoal. I also like the small plates concept and would like to incorporate that. 

"There are restaurants out there doing Turkish food, but they are mostly traditional Turkish. My aim is to use some of the traditional ingredients in dishes, but not necessarily do traditional Turkish." 

Pop-ups to permanent

Kiazim is currently looking for opportunities where she can try out her style of cooking on a wider audience and find out what is popular before she seeks investors to help her set up a permanent restaurant. 

"Everything is in the early stages at the moment," she said. "I have been contacting pubs, food shows and estate agents to find out if there is some sort of space where I can do a pop-up. I'd love to do some festivals this summer and try out my ideas. It will good to experiment. 

"What's really important is to get people to know about my food first and create a buzz around it." 

Kiazim scored a job with Gordon at Providores after winning the UK-NZ Culinary Challenge in 2007. She worked there for two years before taking on a job as sous chef at Kopapa where she moved up to head chef a year later. 

She won the Spanish Young Chef of the Year​ competition in 2010 before making the final of the National Chef of the Year​ the same year. She plans to enter the competition again this year. 

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