He used to sleep in public toilets and survive on a bowl of soup a day, but now he’s a millionaire and is preparing to open his third restaurant in London.
A billionaire restaurateur reveals that poverty once forced him to survive on a bowl of soup a day. His dream of opening a restaurant came true.
Hussein Ozer, 74, now owns restaurants in fashionable Mayfair and St Christopher’s Place in central London. Preparations are underway to open Sofra Steak.
The chef, who was born in the village of Tokat in northern Turkey, said he had a “difficult childhood” and even suffered a poisoning attempt by his stepmother. My London.
In 1975, at the age of 21, he took a five-day bus trip to London to study English in order to fulfill his dream of owning a restaurant in his hometown.
While in the city, he slept badly in public toilets, ate “a full stomach and a small loaf of bread every day” and worked late into the night to master his craft.
Turkish restaurateur Hussein Ozer (pictured), 74, has revealed a tumultuous past in which he slept in public toilets and survived on a bowl of soup a day before becoming successful.
He told the website: “I had a difficult childhood, from being nearly poisoned by my stepmother, to being forced to buy a gun by my mother to kill my father, to being completely disowned by my family. I knew it wasn’t life.” I wanted it for myself. ”
Hussein’s parents divorced when he was a boy, and he grew up feeling unwanted and eventually raised by his grandfather.
Unable to attend primary school at an early age, he taught himself to read and write before moving to Istanbul in 1967, where he found work as a dishwasher in a restaurant.
Eight years later, he had saved enough money to finance a bus ride to London. This marks a new start for the chef.
He decided to work at a doner kebab shop in Mayfair, where he was able to combine night shifts with daytime English classes. His fortunes changed in 1981 for him. That’s when the up-and-coming chef took his £7,500 loan from Natwest Bank to buy the Donner shop from his original owner.
The executive chef is preparing to open a third restaurant, Sofra Balik and Sofra Steak, in central London. It’s a fish and steakhouse (Photo: Sofra, Mayfair, London)
The fast-food joint has developed a cult following, but over time, he says, customers have grown bored with the menu and crave something new.
With the help of two nutritionists, Hussain refined the menu to include Turkish-inspired meats, grilled fish and desserts.
Success soon followed, leading him to expand the chain into trendy St Christopher’s Place in the heart of the city’s West End shopping district.
Hussein says he had a ‘difficult childhood’ and even experienced a poison attack by his stepmother
He says he now talks about his past to inspire others, adding that the driving force behind his latest venture is simply to “make people happy.”
The third addition to the chain, Sofra Balik and Sofra Steak, will open to the public at 11-12 South Molton Street in the coming weeks after being greenlit by Westminster City Council.
He added, “I don’t need money, I just want people to be happy.” Given my past, maybe I should want more for myself, but I’d rather give to others.
And he intends to do just that by giving back to up-and-coming restaurateurs.
He says part of the proceeds from the new restaurant will be donated to various charities, as well as a cooking school being built in Turkey.