Tuesday, 23 May 2017

TURKEY: Seeking To Popularize Turkish Cuisine

Besides our history and cultural heritage, it is the Turkish cuisine that is one of our greatest richness.

However, unfortunately, Turkish cuisine is one of the richest in the world, but is not adequately known internationally.

For instance, this sentence is not frequently used abroad: “Let us eat Turkish food tonight,” whereas in big cities around the world, the French, Italian, Spanish as well as Chinese and Japanese cuisines are all popular.

The Peruvian cuisine that we did not know of until recently has become a global trend with its “ceviche.”

I have always thought that the state should act like a conductor for the promotion of our cuisine that has separate tastes in different regions.

I have shared my thought with several top officials including former Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay because we know that the international promotion of famous cuisines including French and Italian are always supported by their state.

Despite the lack of required strategy for the promotion of the Turkish cuisine, there has been an interesting activity recently in our gastronomy world. Famous chefs as well as those cities that are known for their tastes are on the lead.

Chef Mehmet Gurs of one of Istanbul’s best restaurants Mikla has been able to make it to the top 100 restaurants of the world three years in a row. Mikla was 96th in 2015; it was 56th in 2016; and this year it is in the 51st place.

Gurs is a chef who has created the “New Anatolian Cuisine” using local tastes of Anatolia, working with anthropologists from time to time.

Izmir University of Economics’ Department of Culinary Arts and Management International Coordinator Sırma Güven is a person who has made İzmir be included in “Delice Network Good Food Cities.”

Delice will enable the Aegean cuisine to meet the world.” As a matter of fact, the “Artichoke Festival” at Izmir’s Urla district has been held as part of Delice Network Good Food Cities.

Izmir seems to be ready to go international with its gastronomy that it has enriched for centuries with Sephardic and Levantine cuisines and the cuisine of the islands.

Another example is Gaziantep, from the other side of Turkey. This city has registered its “baklava” years ago; last year it was able to enter UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network in gastronomy.

It is the ninth city to make it to this category in the world up to now.

Istanbul is a city where a gastronomy festival was held for first time in Turkey. The city is the center of where the Ottoman cuisine is best represented, also with tastes of Armenian and Greek cuisines.

This festival is held under the name “Restaurant Week” between April 20 and May 8, when celebrations will be held at several restaurants.

Famous chefs will offer menus with reasonable prices. On the other hand, this past weekend, “101 Tastes of Istanbul Festival” was held.

This month, the “Cappadox Festival” was held between May 18 and 21 in Cappadocia, where gastronomy has a significant place alongside music and modern arts.

Thanks to those who made gastronomy enter all fields of our lives, I guess this time Turkish cuisine is ready to challenge the world.