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Culinary Institute to train Turkey’s cooks 23 janvier 2008

Posted by Acturca in Academic / Académique, Art-Culture, Istanbul, Turkey / Turquie.
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Turkish Daily News, 22 January 2008

Müge Akgün, Istanbul

The Istanbul Culinary Institution, located in a seven-storey building in the Tepebasi district of Beyoglu, will be a unique educational institution providing a 10-month training program for those who would like to become professional cooks.

Turkey now has its own culinary institute, alongside the French Culinary Institute (FCI) and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

The Istanbul Culinary Institute (ICI) will be saluting Istanbul residents from its seven-storey building in the Tepebasi district of Beyoglu/Pera.

The creator of the project, Hande Bozdogan, completed her undergraduate education at the Department of Economics at Bogaziçi University, took a Masters program in the United States and began to take classes in restaurant management along with her graduate courses. She went on to attend cake-making classes at the CIA.

After a brief experience working in the banking sector, Bozdogan realized that only a job related to food culture and world cuisines would make her truly happy. She also attended cooking courses in the United Kingdom. In 1996 and back in Turkey, Bozdogan opened a café in Istanbul’s Suadiye district. There she cooked homemade saucy food and delivered it to work places in the local vicinity. Bozdogan moved on to work as the CEO of Dunkin Donuts in Turkey for three years.

Researching Turkey’s food culture

In 2001, Bozdogan thought she still had much to learn about cooking and therefore went to New York to study at the FCI. Since then, together with a photographer friend, Bozdogan has traveled all around Turkey, researching Turkey’s food culture. In 2004, her book titled “Flavours of the Street, Turkey” won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

Following the book, Bozdogan launched the Saros project, a preliminary work that would later contribute to the Istanbul Culinary Institute. Bozdogan grew tomatoes in a summerhouse garden in Saros Bay, an inlet of the northern Aegean Sea located north of the Gallipolis Peninsula in northwestern Turkey, and has since developed the project into a 60 hectare garden providing fresh fruits and vegetables to the ICI.

When it opens its doors, the ICI will be a unique educational institution providing a 10-month training program for those who would like to become professional cooks. Bozdogan said:

“Universally accepted cooking techniques do not actually vary much from country to country. For instance, the pastry of the Turks’ tulumba tatlisi (fried pastry with syrup) is cooked with the same technique as the French éclaire. Our main aim here, at our Institute, is to teach our students all cooking techniques in the world and provide them necessary academic formation that would enable them to adapt all those techniques to their own cuisine.” Hence the ICI has prepared a highly detailed course curriculum and will teach its students in-depth about Turkish cuisine while simultaneously opening windows to world cuisines.

The ICI’s academic staff includes cooks from Mengen, a district of Bolu province in Turkey famous for its talented cooks, and also young chefs, who hold diplomas from abroad and enough caliber to apply universal cooking techniques. The ICI’s à la carte chef Gencer Üzümlü is a graduate of a culinary school in Australia and has worked in five star hotels. Ziver Usta, another respected name at the institute, is the Turkish cuisine chef, while Zeynep Moroglu is the pastry chef.

Bozdogan said they decreased proportions of fat and salt during preliminary studies with the cooks before trainings and have even excluded margarines, a sine qua non for some dishes, from their kitchen. They have also revised cooking times for several meals.

Not only food culture but also wine culture

The 10-month program is scheduled into two terms. The first five-month term includes introductory courses on both theory and praxis. In the second term, courses provide more detailed knowledge on a particular cuisine, an absolutely professional à la carte kitchen, which is also the kitchen of the restaurant at the ICI. That restaurant is the place where students will be practicing based on a system of daily shifts as if they really work at a restaurant kitchen.

At the ICI, students, in addition to practicing cooking, will also be experiencing the tempo and stress of working at a busy restaurant. They will also be responsible for the service. Bozdogan said, “though customers do not realize it, the service of ordered meals should be at synchronized times and that is actually the most delicate part of service.”

Three storeys of the seven-storey building are shared by ICI kitchens. The first kitchen floor is sponsored by Gaggenau and also functions as a classroom. There is also a student library on the same floor. Another floor used as kitchen will function during first term and evening courses. The bottom floor has been designed to be the kitchen of the ICI’s restaurant “Enstitü,” (Institute).

Tea, coffee and pastries in the morning and package service food for lunch at noon will be the services at the basement. The ICI will also offer courses on wine as a part of food culture and research on wine accompaniments to Turkish meals is actively being carried out at the institute. Sponsoring the project is a wine production company called Kayra Saraplari (Kayra Wines), while the institute’s wine bar will include many Turkish brands.

Support for students with scholarship

The Istanbul Culinary Institute is sponsored by a number of relatively small companies rather than only one large company. This is because the institute wants to be an independent science center and does not want to be called by a name given to it by a big private sponsor. Bozdogan said having more than one sponsor is also helpful in terms of providing more scholarships to greater number of students. The funding strategy will also enable higher quality education and materials.

With space for 32 students for its yearly program, tuition per student is $12,000. The fee is relatively low when compared with other international culinary schools’ yearly tuition fees at around $30,000 – $40,000.

Ten-week evening classes for amateurs will start in February 2008, and will cost YTL 1,500. Students enrolled on evening classes will be learning cooking and meat cutting techniques as well as how to use different knives, how to serve wines, and many other techniques based on both theory and praxis.

The ICI has also signed a partnership agreement with the FCI – with the FCI’s bread making program director, Karen Bornarth, preparing the ICI bread and pastry curriculum. The ICI also sells, at the street level entrance, various kinds of specially cooked breads and other gourmet products.

Interestingly, the ICI expect something from their customers in return: feedback. Not only about their satisfaction with the meals and service, the ICI tutors and students also want to hear customers’ criticisms. In the first months following the institute’s opening, food prepared by kitchen chefs and their assistants will be served in breakfasts and lunches. Food delivery to workplaces around will start soon after. The institute’s restaurant will be opening next week and the first 10-month course will start in September.


1. MCO Abdirashid - 26 juillet 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

i am very glad i you accept application about scholarships realy i am very much interested to win this scholarship because i beleive that my future will enlighten it. and i will benefit as well as possible,

sincerely yours,
best regard,

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