Struggling to search out wholesome vegetarian meals in Dundee, Nilufer Zerener determined to take issues into her personal arms and opened Vegana.
The Turkish chef has been busy since her vegan and vegetarian cafe opened on the finish of April on 127 Nethergate.
Nilufer – who additionally goes by Nili – moved to town one 12 months in the past, after working as a chef in London for 4 years.
On the restaurant she labored in, she witnessed a crab being boiled alive. The vegetarian of six years determined there after which she couldn’t work there anymore.
“I used to be very unhappy,” she says.
“I like animals very a lot and I used to be born on a farm. We had sheep, cows and a whole lot of rabbits.
“Slowly, I realised that I can’t eat meat. As a Turkish chef, working in a restaurant each day it was meat, meat, meat.”
Dundee’s new vegetarian cafe providing
One factor that’s not on the Vegana menu is meat. As an alternative, Nili prepares contemporary salads, sandwiches, burgers, desserts and extra each day.
Her providing consists of vegan and vegetarian breakfasts, from giant plates with eggs, halloumi, beans, greens and chips to toast with candy or savoury toppings.
At lunchtime, the freshly made menu is widespread, that includes The Italian, The Arabic, The Cyprus, The Vegan, The Vegetarian and The Shakshuka fillings in a wrap, baguette, roll or toastie.
There are additionally jacket potatoes, burgers, soups and salad containers on supply to eat in or take away. To fulfill a candy tooth there are cake and pastries – and naturally Turkish baklava – in addition to smoothies, milkshakes and do-it-yourself iced tea.
“That is my menu, I eat this at residence each day,” says the chef.
“The purchasers are very glad, somebody got here and tried hummus, falafel and shakshuka with baked potato for the primary time, they usually liked it.
“I’ve had some good evaluations, and once they just like the meals I’m glad.”
Vegana is open 8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday.
Dundee much like Turkish hometown
Turning into a chef was all the time Nili’s dream. Her complete household are cooks, together with her brother, sister and mum.
She has not been residence to Turkey for 4 years to see them, however she’s hoping to make the journey this summer time.
“I miss my household quite a bit,” she says.
“However Dundee is much like my residence metropolis Kuşadasi, it’s small and quiet.
“Scottish individuals are very pleasant. Once I was in London I used to be not glad, however I got here right here and now I’m.
“In London, I advised a buyer ‘sorry, my English isn’t superb’ they usually stated ‘then go be taught’.
“However right here, individuals say don’t fear and discuss to me slowly. They’re very good and I’m very glad.”
The mom of two says Turkish faculties don’t educate English very effectively, so she’s learnt the language from working in cafes and eating places.
Her two kids, aged 13 and 9, are studying in class, whereas her husband Burhan helps within the cafe now and again.
Vegana ‘makes me glad’
This week, Vegana grew to become obtainable on Simply Eat, that means Nili can get her meals delivered throughout town.
She’s been impressed with how many individuals have visited her cafe up to now.
“I’m shocked on the quantity of vegan individuals right here,” she says.
“However some clients are sceptical, they go previous and I can see them pondering ‘no, no, no!’”
As she is at the moment the one chef within the cafe, it means lengthy days. Generally she involves the Nethergate eatery at 5.30am within the morning and doesn’t go away till 8pm at night time.
Nili hopes her efforts will make Vegana a thriving cafe that she will be able to increase on sooner or later. However a very powerful half to her is doing what she loves.
“In a 12 months’s time, if I’ve the cash, I’d prefer to open different cafes,” she says.
“Perhaps one in St Andrews, I hope. However that’s it, nothing too massive.
“I simply make meals, I don’t know another job and I have to work arduous for my kids.
“I’m getting ready wholesome meals that I like and doing this job makes me glad.”