Could this be Britain's best kebab chef right here in Cockfosters?
As a boy he learned to cook in his family’s greasy spoon cafe after school, and now he’s in the running to be crowned Britain’s best kebab chef.
Mazlum Demir, 33, of Skewd Kitchen, in Cockfosters Parade, Cockfosters, is on a shortlist of ten chefs from around the country, including from Manchester and Edinburgh, to become Chef of the Year in the 2017 British Kebab Awards.
The winner will be announced in a glitzy ceremony at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London’s west end on February 26.
But it all began in more humble surroundings when he was an Edmonton schoolboy helping out at his family’s cafe in Waltham Cross.
Mazlum, who now lives at Broxbourne, said: “I used to help out after school and on weekends. It was a greasy spoon cafe and sandwich bar, and it all led on from there. I took over the business and opened a few other places as well.”
The secret to being a good chef is “passion,” says Mazlum, who will often visit Spitalfields Market, east London, in the middle of the night in order to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables. And he’ll often visit Smithfield Market, near Farringdon, when it opens at 2.30am in order to buy the freshest meat for his restaurant which is a two-minute walk from Cockfosters tube station.
“It becomes more of a career than a job.” he said. “We’re always trying different things because the last thing a chef wants to do is come into the kitchen and make the same thing over and over again.”
Judges will consider food standards agency ratings and public nominations, among other factors, and they will carry out discreet visits and enquiries before choosing a winner. A nomination by an MP or mayor is also highly regarded.