We are on a kebab shop journey – here is some of the background… Ruth Günay, Med Food Co
Lets Talk About Kebabs!
Kebabs are the traditional British drinker’s midnight feast. A stop on the way home after turning out time. Many a Turkish entrepreneur has seen the traditional grilled meat sandwich catch on and, prepared to work the hours and deal with the drunks, set up shop. As the long hours and inebriated clientele take their toll, the need to turn a profit and a certain lack of respect for the customer creeps in. I have to admit I have been on both sides there. Our local kebab shop in my first year at university (it was called Kismet – destiny – that’s funny now) asked us not to come back. I think we had ordered and changed our minds once too often. On one of my early trips back to the UK from Antalya with Faruk we went in to a kebab shop in south London early in the evening. We ordered doner kebabs, sat at a table and continued a conversation in Turkish. The owner appeared a moment later, “can you wait? I need to get a new doner out, the one on the spit is from last night and I won’t serve it to you.” Ok, we thanked him and waited, taking in the discrimination… In more recent times meat factory scandals have loaded suspicion on to those pre-prepared kebabs, although I am assured they are both halal and completely safe to eat.
Opening a Kebab Shop
When Faruk and I announced we were thinking of moving to England, more than one person wondered out loud if we were destined to open a kebab shop. We had been running bars and restaurants with regular customers from all over Antalya alongside mainly Scandinavian tourists. When we ate out it was either smart Turkish places in the city or traditional mountain meze and fish restaurants. Grilled meat? Yes. Freshly baked bread? Yes. Kebabs? I guess so. What struck us in Sheffield at that time was that Turkish food was mainly represented by the British style kebab shop, and we wanted to bring cooking. We opened Lokanta in 2009 and we now have an established Turkish restaurant with plenty going in the kitchen. We have never done takeaway there, it seemed to be the opposite of our intentions. At Med Food Co we are closing that gap and bringing you kebabs to be proud of at any time of day.
Kebabs to be Proud of
We don’t have a doner kebab at Med Food Co. We have done 100% British beef doner at Sheffield Food Festival and often been asked for it again, but to do the quality you need to sell a lot of fresh doner kebabs each day. Instead we are focussed on the charcoal grill. We choose the same quality meat that we use at the restaurant, marinade it and cook to order. We add salad and one of our homemade sauces then wrap in our own freshly made flat breads or serve in a box with rice or salad. Its simple, its healthy and it is how kebabs were supposed to be; good food on the go, any time of day. As the Turks would say “kebab!” which is their equivalent expression to “result!” as in simple, easy, problem solved, nice one!