UK Cypriot Big Has to appear on BBC TV’s Young Masterchef second series

BBC Three’s highly anticipated show, Young MasterChef, makes a swift return to screens with its second season. The best nine young chefs in Britain take a break from their daily routines to showcase their culinary skills. This season’s judging panel welcomes Michelin-trained social media sensation Poppy O’Toole and the new judge, chef, author, and YouTube culinary star, Big Has, a Turkish Cypriot.

Amidst the warm atmosphere witnessing Britain’s culinary revolution, the aspiring young food enthusiasts continue their journey with street flavors, pop-ups, and followers on social media.Turkish Cypriot Hasan Semay (or Big Has as he is affectionately known)  who grew up in Edmonton, North London, experienced a mix of different cultures in his childhood. Reflecting on these experiences while preparing meals with his family, traditional British dishes, such as Sunday roasts, transformed into barbecue roasts inspired by his Cypriot family’s marinades and grilling.

“I grew up around food,” says Big Has, emphasizing, “As a half-English and half-Cypriot, food is a celebration for me and my family.”

While Big Has’s kitchen career was rooted in childhood memories, it wasn’t a definite path. “I was a security guard at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank. I used to tell people, ‘Don’t touch this artwork’ or ‘Please don’t take photos,’” says Big Has. “It was all very dull and monotonous. I just felt I needed to do more.”
Turkish Cypriot Hasan Semay (or Big Has, as he is affectionately known) is a chef, author and TV presenter.

Born and raised in Edmonton, 6ft6 Turkish Cypriot Hasan Semay (or Big Has as he is affectionately known) is currently the judge on BBC Three’s Young MasterChef.

He graduated from Jamie Olivers 15 programme in 2011. After a series of jobs that didn’t light his fire, and hours spent watching cooking shows, his mum convinced him to apply and from then on cooking became his first love. He went on to spend the next 10 years cooking in high end kitchens all over London until Covid hit and he found himself without a job but with a passion to carry on cooking. This is when his YouTube channel Sunday Sessions was born. It’s all about the food (And some lovely camera work) as he takes beautiful ingredients and cooks them up in his downtrodden back garden come rain or shine and all served with a side of Has’ signature charisma.

In recent years, he has contributed regularly to the Guardian Feast magazine, hosted supper clubs at Jamie Olivers and was featured in the special 20th Anniversary issue of Observer Food Monthly, as one of the ‘next big things’ to watch.

In 2022 Pavilion published his debut cookbook, HOME, and 2023 included Has writing book no. 2, set to publish in Autumn 2024. He also perfected his live cooking skills with spots on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and The Big Breakfast. He continues to grace our screens as guest judge on BBC, E4 & ITV2 cooking shows such Celeb Cooking School, and Bad Chefs.

Picture of Michael Yiakoumi

Michael Yiakoumi

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