Meet Önder Şahan: Owner of the ‘best vegetarian restaurant’
Perhaps the first thing you ımagıne when you think about Turkısh food is a chef serving Doner kebab next to the fire pit. But we will introduce you to an innovatıve Turkish chef whose restaurant was chosen as the ‘best vegetarian restaurant’ ın London – Onder Sahan. Mr Sahan started his career in Lambeth, working his way up from waiter to the chef and then director of his restaurants. Now he even has an academy. He says he is happy to have the chance to contribute to a society.
“I came to the UK in 1990. Having worked in several jobs in restaurants, from being a waiter to a chef and eventually general manager, I decided to start my own business in 1999. I wanted to explore London by walking, which I believe is the best way to understand a city and the areas with potential for growth. I spotted Lambeth. This was the pre-Jubilee line era. Although the neighbourhood did not seem to be well developed, it had great potential, welcoming intellectual people with its theatres. This encouraged me to start my business there. I thought that these theatre-lovers often visiting the area would appreciate a restaurant with unique ethnic food from Anatolia, the region I come from and a land offering great variety in every aspect of life, having hosted several civilisations and acting as a bridge between the eastern and the western world.
“When I talked to people in the neighbourhood about my intention of starting my business there, they supported me wholeheartedly. Therefore I opened my first TAS restaurant in “The Cut”, a street minutes from the Old Vic Theatre. We were chosen as the ‘best vegetarian restaurant’ that year, and since then it has been a centre of attraction for creative and talented people from all walks of life. Soon afterwards, we opened the EV, restaurant, café, and bar just at the exit of Southwark Tube Station. EV is one of the first restaurants built under a railway arch. The business grew more and more every day and we are now proud to serve Londoners in our chain of restaurants TAS, HAZ, Hazev, all over the city. In 2011, my partners and I founded Docklands Academy London for the education of future business leaders, especially in the tourism and hospitality sector. I am happy to have the chance to contribute to a society which has always welcomed me and made me feel at home.”