Chef Glen Kleanthous
As owner of Urban Soul Kitchen, tell us about what food means to you and when you began cooking?
My first memory was helping my great aunt and Grandmother from 6. When I could reach the work top in the kitchen, I was allowed to experiment in the kitchen with my mother always encouraging me to experiment. My happiest memories are of being woken at 4am with the smell of turkey cooking and my mother and grandmother fussing over a gigantic meal being prepared for the afternoon.
You’ve literally travelled the world learning about street food – tell us about that experience
Oh wow ! Where do I start? We really need days to relive all the experiences! Each country has their own flavours, ingredients and identity. I’ve witnessed the joy cooking brings to people which was also very satisfying. I also enjoyed learning new techniques and sourcing ingredients I would have never used in England or Cyprus.
Street Food is really a way of bringing people together – what have been some of your experiences?
In Asia – and Korea where I spent a long time, it’s quite normal to eat on the go during the day and then in the evening, to join friends and go out to eat. In Vietnam, one shops 3 times a day to have the freshest of ingredients and must be bought alive. Street vendors literally slaughter and cook in front of their clients!
Do you have a favourite cuisine?
Difficult question, but probably Vietnamese for their simple ingredients which are packed with huge flavours
What ingredients particularly appeal?
After spending time in Asia, I was less meat orientated and I was especially open to Indian veggie dishes.
What is special about the menu of Urban Soul Kitchen and how does one find the ‘perfect’ menu?
Perfect menu balance is not easy – but I encompass different cuisines from Jamaican to Vietnamese.
Do you spend time experimenting and creating new recipes?
Yes, all the time, and travel also helps the mind to wander and find new, innovative ways to use local ingredients.
Where would you like to be in 3 years?
Part of an expanding street-food scene in Cyprus and a greater infusion of different cuisines.
What about the man behind the Chef? What drives you each day?
My kids and the pursuit of perfect dishes