I studied food and wine in London at Puree Leiths Food and Wine School. While in London I did some work experience at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen and River Cafe. I moved back to Istanbul and was Executive Chef of The House Cafe Group for 12 years. I then was able to open my own Modern Turkish restaurant in Istanbul called Moreish and was nominated as "The Next Jamie Oliver" by the Food and Wine Magazine, USA.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes. My mother was also a Chef. I was able to learn the basic cooking skills from her.
How would you define your style?
My food is both earthy and refined with traditional and modern approaches. It encompasses recipes from my childhood and my memories of Anatolian cooking, which is not restricted to the Ottoman cuisine.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Tarhana. In Turkey we make tarhana in the Summer, when the tomatoes and capsicums are in season. We blend it together with yoghurt and flour to make a dough, then dry it out in the sun so it becomes a crumb. We keep it until Winter so we can use it as a soup or sauce.
At Tulum we serve tarhana with fresh prawns cooked in molasses. We pride ourselves on using fresh local ingredients as well as making our own organic vinegar (pomegranate and clove vinegar and rose vinegar), roasted tahini, black sesame tahini, preserved lemons and our own pickling.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Discipline, timing, cleaning and respect.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Canan Ozdemir: The House Cafe Group, Istanbul.
Mark Best: Marque, Sydney.
Somer Sivrioglu: Efendy, Sydney.
Elif Yalin: Delicatessen, Istanbul.
Mehmet Gurs: Mikla Restaurant, Istanbul.
What do you love about this business?
It's never ending. Everyday there is something different, something more creative can be made each day and working with different people each day is a great highlight.
Most 'eyebrow raising' menu item?
Warm rice pudding with Jerusalem artichoke and thyme.
CILBIR. This dish reminds me of my mother. When she was working, I was waiting for her to come back home to cook for me. I was waiting all day for her and when she came back home she would whip garlic yoghurt and serve it with a poached egg and brown butter sauce with pide on the side. We use this recipe as a reference and we serve it at Tulum as an organic chicken egg with smoked yoghurt, crispy chicken skin, brown butter crumble and sumac brown butter sauce. Click Tulum Restaurant above to find this recipe!