An entrepreneur who owns three businesses in the High Wycombe and Holmer Green area has exclusively told Bucks Free Press about the highs and lows he has experienced in the last year.

Halil 'Harry' Olgar, 45, is the current proprietor of Zem Kebabs in High Wycombe, Cozy Fish and Chips in Hazelmere and the Holmer Green Kebab in its namesake.

He has gained a positive reputation in serving those in the Chilterns the finest Turkish cuisine, whilst offering traditional food cemented in British tradition.

Bucks Free Press: Halil Olgar (pictured with kebab at Zem in High Wycombe), owns three business in BuckinghamshireHalil Olgar (pictured with kebab at Zem in High Wycombe), owns three business in Buckinghamshire (Image: NQ)

However, things in the last 12 months or so haven’t been easy for the businessman, who has suffered personal loss.

And in the last week, he has given the bittersweet news that Zem Kebab had been nominated for this year’s British Kebab Awards for the second year running, whilst being told that his original shop, Holmer Green Kebab, received a one in a recent food hygiene inspection.

He has owned the latter since 2001 and considers the shop to be his ‘baby’, whilst Cozy Fish and Chips was launched in 2019 and Zem officially opened in 2021.

On the recent food hygiene rating, he said: “With Turkish shops, we make everything in front of the customers so they can see what is happening with their food.

“None of our dishes are cooked in the kitchen.

“Of course, the inspectors are never wrong as they saw what they saw that deemed Holmer Green Kebab should get a one, but it was a tricky period for me.

“I’m from Turkey and a little while ago, we had the earthquake that devastated the country.

“We did a few charity events in High Wycombe to help those impacted before I flew out to help my parents, as their house was destroyed.

“Thankfully, they weren’t in it when it collapsed.

Bucks Free Press: The inside of Zem Kebab in High WycombeThe inside of Zem Kebab in High Wycombe (Image: NQ)

“I stayed for several months where I helped them build a bungalow but before I left, my dad was telling me he had bad belly pain.

“I went back and they told me here that he had pancreatic cancer, and that he didn’t have much time left.

“So I decided to go back to Turkey to spend however long left with him because after being in England for 25 years, I missed seeing them.”

Bucks Free Press: Halil serves a customer at Zem KebabHalil serves a customer at Zem Kebab (Image: NQ)

Halil revealed that before he flew to his homeland, he trained his staff so that each of his three businesses were in the best condition.

However, not long after landing in Turkey, his father sadly succumbed to his illness.

Staying with his family, it was during this period that an inspector visited Holmer Green Kebab and discovered ‘damaged tiles, a broken display fridge door and cleaning issues’.

Bucks Free Press: The kitchen at Zem Kebab was very cleanThe kitchen at Zem Kebab was very clean (Image: NQ)

There was also a problem in showing the inspector the necessary paperwork.

Halil continued: “When I left, I put my staff in charge as they are trained but not long after my dad died, Holmer Green Kebab was inspected and she [the inspector] thought the condition of the shop wasn’t good.

“There were broken tiles, one of the display fridge doors were broken and there were a few cleaning issues.

“They also couldn’t get the certification as I know where everything is, as I’m very organised with my paperwork so the inspection didn’t go well.

Bucks Free Press: The BFP were treated to a kebab at Zem and it looked and tasted beautiful The BFP were treated to a kebab at Zem and it looked and tasted beautiful (Image: NQ)

“I did email [Buckinghamshire Council] telling them that I was going through the hardest time of my life, but I knew that it needed to change.

“I came back to England urgently, made the changes, had a re-inspection and they said there weren’t any problems.

“Now I’m waiting for either a four or five-star.”

Bucks Free Press: Halil in actionHalil in action (Image: NQ)

Speaking on his customers, some of whom have been eating Halil’s food since he opened a mobile kebab van in the area in 1999, he concluded: “I always try my best to give them the best food possible.

“Also, many people have come in to send their condolences about my dad and it’s lovely to see that."