The Post website has a feature on Michael Bagriyanik, who took over at the Egg in July last year.
Michael Bagriyanik: You choose, we cook
Jan 14 2008
Lucy Foster talks to the restaurateur who wants to educate people about what they are eating
CHEFS are renowned for their ability to bubble over if their kitchen space is invaded, but at The Egg CafÃ© thereâ€™s no danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
â€œAll the staff here are trained to cook the different recipes we have on the menu,â€ says chef and owner Michael Bagriyanik. â€œBy sharing the role, thereâ€™s not so much pressure on one individual to do everything.â€
Born in Turkey, 45-year-old Michael has been in the catering business for the last 25 years, much of it spent in Liverpool.
Noting the growing trend for healthy eating, he was one of the first to capitalise on the growing cafÃ©-culture phenomenon, opening The Doorstep CafÃ©, on Slater Street, in the 1990s….
… After taking on drug culture in the nineties, in the organic-obsessed noughties Michael is turning his attention to healthy eating with The Egg CafÃ©, on Newington Street, which he took over in July last year.
â€œIn the media now, you see fair trade and organic products and everybody believes this to be a new thing for the 21st century,â€ he says. â€œI realised a long time ago that doing my own shopping pays. I go straight to the action where the food is produced and buy the products there. Currently, the supplier Iâ€™m using is in Cheshire, at Cholmondeley Castle, where everything is free range. Itâ€™s tough sometimes doing the shopping and running the cafÃ© but it pays off and we can supply our customers with reasonably-priced, healthy food.â€
Although not formally trained as a chef, Michael took a three-month vegetarian and vegan cooking course at John Moores University, which he says helped him become aware of food allergies and intolerances, as well as learning to cook dishes.
This awareness, which he has passed on to cafÃ© staff, has made the place popular with people whose dietary choices may be limited in traditional restaurants.
â€œMuch of our food caters for these kinds of problems through the ingredients used,â€ Michael explains. â€œFor example, instead of flour we use products like Sosmix which is used in our spicy bean burgers. I feel this gives us an edge because we can adjust the menu to suit customersâ€™ needs.â€…
… Traditionally a hangout for the arty/student/environmentally conscious crowd, recently The Egg CafÃ© has seen a boom in the number of business people popping in. The introduction of a lunchtime set menu â€“ with the option of tailoring the dishes to your requirements â€“ has, it seems, been a hit with the â€œsuitsâ€.
â€œThe atmosphere is so relaxed â€“ itâ€™s like a retreat where you can just come in by yourself and read the paper and have a coffee,â€ says Michael.
A very interesting policy regarding payment means The Egg cafÃ© is also becoming a must-visit destination for tourists. Says Michael: â€œWe take any kind of currency which our customers find fascinating. It just adds to the feel and difference of The Egg.â€
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