The one thing you should never call Ali Riza Akdag is Turkish. I am Kurdish, he explains proudly. I was born in the south east of Turkey – in the city of Adiyaman.
I studied to become a teacher but, for political reasons, I wasn't able to become one. I ended up moving to the tourist area of Turkey and working in a restaurant. There I met people from all over the world - I even learnt some Japanese because of the number of tourists we had from there. When I had to leave the country I went first of all to Wales, a very beautiful place - I even had my honeymoon there! I was able to move to London when a cousin of mine bought The Junction Café.
My passion in life is singing Kurdish folksongs and playing the drums - we have a traditional one called the dávul. I used to teach a class so that people could learn to play it, and learn the songs and dances of my region. This is particularly important at Kurdish weddings where we all join in the singing and dancing - even my three year old son can take part.
To visit Ali in his newly expanded cafe, pop along to 95 Junction Road – who knows you may be able to get a quick dávul lesson!