Turkish woman in UK named ‘Chef of the Year’
Providing service with a rich menu involving mouth-watering meals at an eaterie named Fatma’s Kitchen in the Haywards Heath quarter of the British capital, Güngör became the first woman to have ever won the award.
“We’d like to thank everyone who voted, the judges that chose Fatma and also all of our wonderful customers who have dined with us over the years. This award really means a lot, and we’d like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of our hearts,” said the Instagram account of the restaurant.
Born and raised in the Aegean province of İzmir, Güngör had previously practiced as a chef in Turkey and several places abroad, but she always dreamed of opening a restaurant, according to daily Milliyet.
Noting that she went to London through the Ankara Agreement, a visa scheme deal for Turkish businesspeople to move and settle in the U.K., Güngör continued her life working in various restaurants in the country.
After five years, she took the first step towards realizing her dream by buying a restaurant that stopped service at the beginning of the pandemic and was on the verge of bankruptcy, turning the crisis into an opportunity.
“I have worked in many famous restaurants and nice hotels. I had the happiness of making my own dream come true here. There are pros and cons. Very beautiful but very difficult,” Güngör told Milliyet while describing her journey.
Stressing that it is difficult to start from scratch in a foreign country and that it is very tiring to make such an attempt during the pandemic, Güngör said: “We did not give up; we were hurt a lot. It was very difficult, but the end was good.”
The award-winning chef is very sensitive about the fact that her restaurant is not a kebab restaurant but a Turkish restaurant.
Underlining that besides kebab, other Turkish dishes are consumed lovingly in her restaurant, Güngör pointed out that she does her job with great pleasure, care and love, and that’s why those who eat their meals enjoy it.
Güngör also talks about the difficulties of being a woman in the sector.
“No matter how strong you are as a woman or how good your career is, you live under male hegemony. Even if your work is excellent, it doesn’t matter much. You remain in the background in the presence of men,” she said.
“There aren’t many women either as the kebab industry and cooking is a heavy job. However, for these reasons, they do not stand out much. I guess my being a little stubborn brought success,” Güngör added.