Bud up, renaissance man Kozeen Shiwan?
Chef, creative, designer and master of all things visual. Kozeen Shiwan is an Iraq-born chef rockstar who calls his work experience art – immersive and hedonistic experiences that delight all senses. Let’s have a chat with Kozeen.
Hello there! Now tell us: who are you & how have you been?
I’m Kozeen Shiwan. And I’m feeling great, life is fantastic right now. I’m a chef, but for years I’ve been growing out of that narrow box. So, I’d say these days I’m an entrepreneur, restauranter, creative, designer, producer, among others. I also photograph and do all kinds of visual things.
What inspires u?
Fashion. Rick Owens, a US-born designer who lives and works in Italy. I’m also inspired by all kinds of everyday things. I’d say inspiration is more of a mindset, a creative way of connecting with life.
If you were a flower, what flower would you be – and why?
Definitively signet marigold (kääpiösamettikukka) because their fragrance is so stunning. And you can also eat it. You can use the stem for making mayo, ice cream and oils, for example.
What’s your story in combining art and food?
Basically, I’ve always wanted to do everything I do full on. Give my all to it and be among the best in the field. In my first day in chef school, I already realized I have an eye for visuality. Combining food with elements of fashion, design and visuality creates a whole another level of experience. That’s my vision, and I want to bring it to the world to enjoy. In the deepest level, it’s all about self-expression.
Immersiveness seems to be a driver for you in your creations?
Yea, a huge one. Basically, “food art” always sounded wrong to me, and now I’ve finally found a term for it: it’s experience art. So, I’m creating unforgettable experiences for people – as crazy, hedonistic, and joyful as possible.
Tell us about King’s Potato – your most famous signature dish?
King’s Potato is a strong one, and just has it all – I knew it right away after creating it. Another one would be my turmeric sorbet, which is served in this black bowl I’ve designed myself. In general, I love the concept of having signature dishes, because they create “safety spots” in longer menus. For example, a 16-dish menu could have four signature dishes. This leaves a lot of space for experimentation with the rest of the menu.
Do you have plans for next year? Something you wanna share?
Oh yes. Next year’s gonna be my year, a huge one. I have TV stuff booked and all kinds of exciting things coming up.
Cool, we’re looking forward to that! Let’s end up by talking a few more words about em´ flowers.
I absolutely love flowers, and I actually use them more in my food experiences than any other chef in Finland. For example, I once made this huge flower/forest installation, an ever-green arc combining tree branches to flowers to create a dinner with complete visual experience. Flowers are just so amazing, with their micro season, tenderness, and beauty. I love them.
You’ve already worked with BUD, how did it go?
It was absolutely stunning, and just a start. The first time we worked together, and I was able to see what BUD had created, I was like this is mad, so fantastic – colorful, slightly psychedelic, and so vibrant at the same time. I’m happy to work with BUD, it has all just cliqued so well.
Love to work with you, too. Thanks so much Kozeen!