Hi Silvena! First of all, can you tell us about yourself? Born ın the old turkısh cıty of phılıbe ın bulgarıa, now days known as plovdıv, to a turkısh father ( from ıstanbul) and beautıful bulgarıan mother. my father rose to the highest ranks in bulgaria, despite been turkish, spoke 7 languages, left this world a better place than he found t! I was in a home with delicious foods & smells and flavours… very early on I became greedy about food and food became simply of importance …I have never smoked or drunk, but I have ate my way around the world and remain an omnivore! I married an English man , moved to London, vbecame a private chef to the rich and famous, had a weekly column in the Guardian, have 8 cookbooks- was always led by the love and lust I have for Ottoman food and culture…
Until 4 years ago I had restaurant in london, in the heart of the world Mayfair, which I left to come to Dubai…where I opened restaurants under the name and brand of Omnia. In less than two years Omnia had become a well known and loved brand through the whole of the Gulf- having been in food industry for 30 years now, I decided to do something that really excites me and I see
as the future- to create delicious food that happened to be healthy! So Omnia is all about making food without processed elements, no additives, no injections,no hormones, ORGANIC above, sugar free, gluten free and Omnia is the leading restaurant having won numerous awards about been the favourite healthy restaurant in Dubai, with its paleo and vegan proportion of food and especially desserts. As half Turkish, I have a serious “sweet tooth” but my desserts are super delicious and avoiding refined sugar , which lets be honest is a killer, which ever way you look at sugar! So my mission is to keep feeing my customers with food that will prolong their lives, will enhance their life styles and will leave them wanting more. I specialise in anti ageing and anti oxidant superfoods, that improve quality of life by adding vitality, energy, vivacity! Hamdullila, I am truly blessed to have been chosen and a a female chef, I can imagine a better calling! I , too, like my father hope to make this place better for all of us…
Amongst Omnia’s customer, we are very luck to have members of the Royal family, as well as everyone who simply believes in “You are what you eat” I am a familiar face on TV, have had TV shows
on BBC and British TV, as well as appeared on US TV, “Chopped”, where I am a judge.
Here in Dubai , I have Omnia by Silvenaflagship restaurant, most for functions and private dinners…Omnia Gourmet and Omnia Blue – in Jumeirah, on the sea, right on it! Here is the best place for vegan, paleo, sugar free and gluten free delicious food, Omnia Glow in Dubai Ladies Club, next to Four Seasons, where we make light & healthy organic food and our 5th place Omnia Baharat in the Mall of the Emirates
How did you decide to become a Chef, what kind of training you went through? I am entirely self-taught, best chefs in the world are self taught! Cooking is truly an art, I have cooked a child with my father, mother and watched my grand mother make the mother of all baklava….I have worked in various chef’s kitchens as a stagee, I have written 8 cookbooks, working in kitchens is the best training. Years of experience, are invaluable and now I have 30 + behind me…still so much to do.
You are one of the most popular Chef in the world. TV programs, books, newspapers, magazines…Why do you think people prefer Chef Silvena? What’s the source of this interest? I have always been outspoken, funny and shooting straight! I always say it as it is, even on TV, but I always keep my act clean and classy, I have no interest in gimmicks, or putting on an act! I am very much liked in the whole, but as a TV persona, of course there are people who perhaps prefer something else….never the less , I am watched and listened – you dont expect to be liked by everyone! To me cooking is about culture, intelligence also…and most importantly evolving! Most chefs just stand still cooking & doing the same thing…I believe in evolving and creating the eating trends as a celebrity chef, inspiring and injecting people with my passion for healthy & delicious eating
There are already some really high class Chefs in UAE, is there a sweet competition among all? We have recently heard that they have asked you to become a Michelin star inspector, what’s the story about it? Dubai is full of restaurants, there are more than 50 openings on an average a day ….but there are also more or less the same number of closures, average span of a new restaurant here is 1.5-2 years…only the very strong survive…Competition is a healthy thing! There is no bad words, jealousy, there is opportunity for everyone! Dubai is a truly happy place- I am very , truly thrilled to be in Dubai and I say this after having to leave a prestigious restaurant in MayFair in London, to come to Dubai…. Years, ago I was asked to become a Michelin inspector, back in London, I did some consideration…but decided I rather love to cook, more so that to critique….so really there was only one choice…Michelin is a way of defining restaurant that most of us admire
and adhere to…its a prestigious guide… but even so in last so many years Michelin, have been changing their focus and guide lines…evolving, just like food…I was recently in Singapore , where Michelin was awarded to a market stall , a hawker! Now that is something different! Back to Omnia and Dubai, we stay and we continue to do something that no one else is doing, making vibrant&healthy&delcious food!
Silvena signature is a fact that all respects. Can you tell us about that? I believe in what the famous Rumi has said, “Surround yourself with people who fan your flames” Dubai is one such place for me, here my flames are burning high and Omnia is loved and embraced so very much! Nowhere else in the world, nowhere, will be possible to create such a strong, visible, recognisable brand, such as Omnia, as it has been possible in Dubai- Dubai just gives love!
Organic, organic, organic… What is that organic concept? Why it is so important and does it really contribute to the taste? Organic food is the best , just as is organic love, just as is organic relationships! Who needs additives … when food is added to, played with , genetically modified there is only one reason for it and this is profit! The harm of such food is in core of most ilness, I believe that food can alter and turn around life styles for the better! Look around all those people spending on designer bags, shoes, watches, ect ect….yet, eating just any old food, without thought!
Have you noticed how people often question, why is this food so expensive, yet people never ask , why is this food so cheap! People only pay attention to what they eat, once they get sick, often, too late then! To me organic is about quality of food and yes taste too! I cook with no salt , as I consider salt as dangerous as sugar, but salt can be added, so its always there available …The key is to make food that you want to go back for, without the nasties….and that is what we do! One of my Omnia restaurants is called Omnia Glow, its in the most prestigious Dubai Ladies Club and its called Glow, because those re the foods there …their make you glow!
If you were a guest which signature dish of yours would be your choice? Or let me put it this way, which is your most popular signature dish? We have many, but I would strongly suggest to explore the vast range of our sugar free desserts…all our food is made by hand, all our sauces nd condiments are also home made, organic wherever possible and always of the best quality! I would visit Omnia by Silvena in the heart of Dubai, with a large group and have a very delicious private time, or take a lazy breakfast by the sea in Omnia Gourmet, or catch of the day sea food at Omnia Blue,
again by the sea…or if shopping in the mall of the Emirates, look out for Omnia Baharat by the Vox cinema, where we have anything from modern Istanbul dishes, to best burgers in town.