Meet Fatih Tutak, Turkey's first 2-Michelin Star chef in Istanbul

Two Michelin star chef Fatih Tutak says Turkish cuisine is not just about kebabs
Two Michelin star chef Fatih Tutak says Turkish cuisine is not just about kebabs   -   Copyright  AFP
By Kerem Congar  & AFP

For people who've tasted the delights of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, the first edition launch of the Michelin Guide has been a long time coming. 

For others, its place in arguably the world's most famous rating and review book will mean recognition on the global gastronomic map.

The gourmets' bible has singled out five restaurants, four of which have been awarded a star, and 53 "recommended addresses" for their excellent value for money, an advantage in the midst of an economic crisis and inflation (+83%), "illustrating the richness of the culinary scene".

For chef Fatih Tutak, the two stars awarded to his restaurant are an opportunity to show that "Turkish cuisine is not just about kebabs".

The Turk Fatih Tutak restaurant in Istanbul offers an experience that is anchored around Turkish products that are both innovative and inspirational while being linked to the country's cultural heritage. And it's a place that reflects what the best of what Istanbul has to offer: a mix of European and Asian traditions.

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Chef Tutak and his assistants are making a type of baklava dessert.AFP

Chef Tutak believes that it is important for him to present Turkish cuisine in the world of gastronomy. "Actually, Turkish cuisine is very multicultural. Kebab is part of it, maybe 5% but there is so much more than kebabs. We are a big country, we have a lot of civilizations living around Turkey, from North to South, from West to East."

Cooking at the crossroad

What's more Tutak says the tradition of Turkish cuisine is inspirational for his team: "Of course, we have inspiration from our traditional techniques and our culture basically. When we create new dishes, we feed ourselves from our roots. I have been traveling for 16 years around Asia and as you know the Turks civilization comes from Central Asia many years ago. So when we create dishes we always look at our history, and our culture and we get inspiration but we develop new techniques. "

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Chef Tutak is working in his restaurant's kitchen.AFP

International Director of the Michelin Guide Gwendal Poullennec presented the awards to the Turkish chefs ethis month (October 8) in Istanbul.

Poullennec was very enthusiastic about a new Michelin Guide list for Istanbul restaurants: "Turkish gastronomy is already known in the world for its excellent value for money on simple cuisine." 

"What is extraordinary is that this first selection shows the variety, and the different aspects of Turkish cuisine, which is a cuisine that is really concentrated around the experience of the product, local products that come from all over Turkey. There is also real respect for seasonality. So the Michelin guide and this first selection will finally be a new kick-off because it puts a spotlight on these establishments."

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Chef Fatik Tutak is holding a "yufka" piece, which is a traditional Turkish non fermented phyllo.AFP

Video editor • Kerem Congar