Interview with Silvena Rowe!

Gulnaz Can interviews Silvena Rowe:


  • You have already brought Istanbul to London with the help of your job… How did it work?


SR: I have always been the best ambassador for Istanbul I can be, it hasnt been easy as people have pre conceptions for Istanbul and Turkey, trying to make people understand that Istanbul has become a truly cosmopolitan city is still a challenge! the only way to do it is through food, light , modern, colorful food!


  • How would you define İstanbul? What sort of a city do you think it is?

SR: Istanbul is like the very best secret! It has elements from past old days, when you are in certain parts you feel forgotten by time, then at the same time you move in different area and feel light years ahead! It is city of contradiction and passion! I have an ongoing love affair with Istanbul!


  • Does the rich heritage of İstanbul effect you as a chef? Is the contemporary Istanbul more powerful as an inspiration than the historical taste of it fed by Ottoman and Byzantian, do you think?


SR: Very much so, Istanbul still have “finds” that one can not discover in another contemporary city! I love getting lost in Kapala charsha -The Grand Bazar! It is my favourite place in the world! Here just meters away from 1000’s tourists, I still find a small corner, with locals only, prayer call and few cats! Then I feel the spirit of the old days! Every brisk on the walls is from old Byzantian days!


  • What do you think about London? Do you think whether similarities or differences between Istanbul and London are stonger?


SR: London is my home and is calm, measured and collected! Istanbul is my home from home and is rather unpredictable, spirited and I love , love escaping there! I don’t see similiarities, I am affraid to say! Many differences….Istanbul is a dream and remains so for me!


  • Let’s talk about INN London… You’ll be in the fair with your very special “Turkish Luxury Street Food Menu”…  What did you take the inspiration from?


SR: I love the street pilafs, I was brought up with kofte and aubergines, so I will structure my mezze plate around my childhood food as well as famous Istanbul street food! It is a challenge as we dont have “restaurant” facilities to cook there at all, but we offer an essence, feel and colour of Istanbul!


  • How do you feel when you walk on the streets in Turkey? How do you define that experience as a chef?


SR: It is a discovery! Every time I go there, I come back fully re energised and fully charged! Amazing food and produce everywhere! Every chef should know this cuisine! Ottoman cuisine is after all one of the 3 world’s greatest cuisines!


  • They say, cliches don’t come from nowhere… Are you aware of the cliches about Turkish food? Do you have any objection to them?


SR: Most common cliche is that Turkish food is just kebab, chips and sweaty salad! This is changing now, Turkish cuisine is vibrant, exciting and I cook it in most modernistic and alluring of ways! I make no apology for taking my role so serious! I am very proud to be half Turkish and Turkish food is my favourite food in the world!

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