How love changed City career girl into a restaurateur

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What makes a woman switch from a management career at the London School of Economics to running a restaurant in Sheffield?

Love. And a last-minute holiday to Turkey.

Ruth Günay, 40, has been running Broomhill’s Lokanta with husband Faruk since 2009 and as Valentine’s Day approaches, says has never regretted changing her life after falling in love on a Turkish beach 17 years ago.

She says: “I could not have been more surprised to meet the man I would marry on that holiday. I was a career girl, a management trainee at the London School of Economics and working for a masters degree in HR. But life and love took me in an entirely different direction.

“My friend Flora and I had wanted a cheap last-minute holiday and when the travel agent offered a party week in Ibiza or a cheap break in Turkey for £179, she persuaded me to go to a country I had never wanted to visit.”

Faruk Gunay, now 38, was managing the water sports centre at his brother’s beach club after leaving the army when he spotted Ruth. After just two days he knew she was the woman he would marry.

Romance blossomed further when Ruth went back to Turkey six weeks later. Eventually she left her job to make a life with Faruk, retraining as an English teacher in a private Turkish primary school and they married in 2001.

Faruk opened two restaurants in Kemer and they had two daughters, deciding to move back to Ruth’s native Sheffield when their eldest reached school age in 2007.

They opened Lokanta after spotting a gap in themarket for a Turkish meze restaurant. “In five years we have had four Good Food Guide entries. We have never looked back – and I am so glad I let my friend persuade me not to go to Ibiza,” says Ruth, whose degree came in handy after all – she handles the administration, finance and marketing.