The YEN Speaker Series: Philip Juma

YEN was pleased to host Philip as part of its ‘SawalifThe YEN Speaker Series’

Philip Juma, the English-Iraqi head chef & founder of Juma Kitchen, provided the IBBC Young Executive Network with unique insights into how he started and has grown his business in the hospitality sector in our second ‘Sawalif – The YEN Speaker Series’ on ‘A taste of Juma Kitchen: putting Iraqi cuisine on the map ’ on 4th August.

Philip spoke passionately about his love of Iraqi cuisine and the powerful and unique way it connects people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnicities, with many heart-warming stories of connecting with people through his supperclubs and at Juma Kitchen in Borough Market. He spoke about the hard work and commitment required as an entrepreneur starting out with a new venture. He highlighted the importance of self-belief and constantly working on your craft when starting out with a new venture. He explained how important it is to be open to new opportunities and to expanding your network, including through a social media presence, as this can bring up exciting new opportunities. Philip’s column in the Evening Standard showcasing some of his Iraqi recipes was a surprising opportunity, yet pivotal turning point in raising his profile in the London food scene.

He described how he got the opportunity to set up in Borough Market, perhaps London’s most famous food and drinks market. It was wonderful to hear how a very strong Iraqi turn out supporting him during his early demonstrations at Borough Market was a helpful contributor.  He reflected on how he is a perfectionist and that as his business has grown, he has had to recognise that he cannot control all aspects of his business and therefore it is incredibly important to build a team around you that you can trust and delegate to. Philip reflected on the detrimental impact of CV19 on the hospitality sector and how he found comfort and inspiration in supporting the NHS during lockdown.

Juma Kitchen is now back up and running in Borough Market, so for anyone in London that is craving delicious Kubba or Iraqi kebab (catering for meat eaters and vegans alike), you know where to go! Philip is also launching a supperclub series starting August 28th raising money for Iraq and Lebanon with 50% of profits to be donated. The entire menu is vegetarian with meat kubba and grills available to purchase on the night, as well as Lebanese wine, Arak and soft drinks. For more information, Click Here

If you weren’t able to join us on the day, we would encourage you to watch the session Here

We hope you can join us for the next session in our ‘Sawalif – The YEN Speaker Series’, the details of which will be coming soon.