A former Hornchurch history teacher turned business owner is set to appear in a Channel 4 reality show about pitching products to a supermarket.

Elizabeth Salih, 31, and her husband Yuksel Salih, 37, who were both born in the town, are contestants on Aldi’s Next Big Thing.

The show will see them try to secure a deal to sell their Turkish marinades and sauces nationwide in the chain's stores.

Elizabeth told the Recorder that she was the head of faculty at Sanders Draper School in Hornchurch, where she worked as a history teacher for more than three years before leaving it to work full-time towards growing their family business.

They are co-founders of The Kebab Club, that offers four core products - chicken shish marinade, lamb shish marinade and two types of Turkish chilli sauce.

Romford Recorder: Elizabeth and Yuksel displaying their productsElizabeth and Yuksel displaying their products (Image: Channel 4)Yuksel is of Turkish-Cypriot origin, Elizabeth said, and his father owned the Izmir Kebab shop in Romford’s North Street for 30 years.

Yuksel grew up working in the takeaway with his cousins until his father retired in 2009 and he went to university, she added.

Elizabeth and Yuksel got the idea for the business in 2020 after a friend asked them for a recipe for one of their sauces.

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She said: “After I sent a list of ingredients she was like, 'there's so much, didn't really know where to get all this. Could you just make it for me?' I just realised maybe there is a gap in the market for Turkish products."

Having lived in Hornchurch for most of their lives, they moved to Southend six years ago.

“We spent six months developing our products that we were just making out of our kitchen and were sharing it with friends and family for feedback. Then in April 2021, we decided to set up our website and start selling them”, she added.

Elizabeth continued working at the school for two years while running the business with Yuksel, but resigned from the job in 2023 to devote more time to their enterprise.

After they sent in their bid for the show, Elizabeth said they did an interview with Channel 4 producers last year. The episode itself, she said, was shot in July 2023 at the Aldi headquarters in Birmingham.

She added: “We had a full day filming there. We had to pitch to the marketing director, the managing director of buying and the presenters.

“And it was all really exciting. Obviously, we were very nervous during the build up to it and we were constantly practicing our pitch. We created a pitch board and presented our products.

“Then about a month later they came to our home as well and they interviewed us, and went around the local area. It was a really good experience.

“It’s the first time we had ever done anything like this as a small business, it was a very big turning point for us."

The episode is scheduled to go live on April 30 on Channel 4.