As recent as fifteen years ago, London had a bad reputation for having limited food options. Fish and chips and meat pies, perhaps some Indian standard fare were the local foods of choice, and nobody in their right mind would travel to London for a rich, diverse culinary experience. Well, the world has certainly changed.  London transformed itself to become a European culinary capital with delicacies from around the world as well as celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay with global reputations surpassing many.  With such a diverse and competitive dining scene, one man is making the taste of Turkish food better known and appreciated. 

Önder Sahan, one of London’s most influential Turkish restauranteurs, has made it his business to promote Turkish cuisine and educate his customers about it. He does this every single day, and he does it well.  His nine restaurants spread all over London serve over 15,000 mostly British clients every week.  During our visit to London last month, we had the opportunity to sit down with Onder and talk about his background, his secrets for success and how Turkish cuisine is perceived outside of Turkey.  Here is what he had to say.

Quick Profile: Önder Sahan

Önder Sahan from Kars is the owner of nine Turkish restaurants spread across London, all of which are in busy locations. He has personally trained the head chefs at each and continues to take an active role in their management.  His first restaurant, TAS Cut in the Waterloo area of London, was recognized as the best vegetarian restaurant in its neighborhood within the first year of its opening. That was eleven years ago. His latest venture, an upscale and elegant restaurant, lounge and cafe Hazev, - at which he is the Head Chef - opened its doors last year in the trendy Canary Wharf area of London. 

Onder Sahan has been living in London for 20 years.  While keeping up with the needs of his growing enterprise, he also tries to give back to Turkey. He buys and brings his ingredients, even his furniture directly from Turkey. A few years ago, he became a sponsor for a school in the Sarikamis village close to Kars. 

Turkish Shopping?
Önder Sahan took us on a tour of London’s best neighborhoods for Turkish food shopping and nibbling. Read it on SHOP.../../../../Shop/Shop.html../../../../Shop/Entries/2010/7/22_Neighborhood_Watch__Londons_Turkish_Neighborhoods.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0
Almond Steak from Onder
Önder Sahan’s Recipe for Hazev’s almond steak coming on EAT...../../../../Eat/Entries/2010/8/9_Recipe__Almond_Steak_from_Hazev_in_London.html

Hazev’s Mevlana Themed Decoratıons

Onder Sahan’s New Venture Hazev’s Dining Room