Beyond Baklava

Celebrity chef Eyup Kemal Sevinc has brought Turkey cuisine to Hyderabad at the Flavours Of Turkiye food fest. He opens up with CE about the cuisine, the menu, his journey thus far, and more

Published: 25th June 2022 05:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2022 05:16 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Hyderabadis always have a soft corner for Turkish delicacies and to capitalise on that, Hyatt Place, in collaboration with the Turkish Consulate is hosting a Turkish food festival called Flavours Of Turkiye. Overseen by none other than celebrity chef Eyup Kemal Sevinc, the fest is all about authentic Turkish cuisine, and more. 

Born and brought up in Turkey’s Bolu, a place famous for its many chefs, Eyup says, “My grandfather was a chef. my father followed suit and there was no reason why I shouldn’t become one too. I love to serve guests — I thoroughly enjoy putting ingredients together to watch people relish my handiwork. I travelled across the globe before I opened my own company.” The chef also has a culinary school where he teaches young chefs to better their skills.

Launched on June 22, the ongoing food fest is probably the first of its kind the country has seen. “This is my first time in India and I am having a blast. While I did hear a lot about the cuisine here, I barely scratched its surface. I also understood that not many here know much about our cuisine, yet, it is such a joy to see how warm and welcoming the city has been, of authentic Turkish cuisine,” says Eyup, who curated a menu without any of the dishes losing its authenticity.

Chef Eyup Kemal Sevinc

TURKEY CALLING

The food fest boasts of starters like cacik, a common dish made with cucumber, yoghurt and herbs. Next comes the Kyopolou — a roast eggplant dish that is one of Eyup’s personal favourites. “Its smokey taste combined with olive oil and garlic is an absolute delight to the eyes and the tongue. We also have the tahini, which is a white bean salad with tahini dressing and vegetables.

There’s the chicken salad made using a unique technique chicken stock and cumin,” he lists. Flavours Of Turkiye also has a variety of soups made using red lentils, which is spicy, just the way we like it. The chef adds, “For appetisers, we have a Mediterranean dish, which is marinated fish. For the main course, lamb takes over lamb shoulder is marinated and placed in the oven for the rich spices to take the dish up a notch.

And no points for guessing the dessert we have baklava and Turkish ice cream.” The chef points out that while the world knows and loves baklava, he wants the popularity of Turkish cuisine to grow beyond that. “I learnt that a huge chunk of Indians enjoys eating vegetarian food, so I added a lot of greens and fried onions,” says he.

The chef has sourced a lot of his ingredients from Turkey which include fresh wine leaves, tahini and even Turkish coffee “We double roast our coffee and then add in water, which brings out a unique flavour,” he adds. Eyup, who is yet to move around the city and explore its rich cuisine says he loved the little that he tried and we’re not surprised that he names the biryani his favourite.

“I will soon take down notes of the recipe to biryani,” he laughs. The chef, who is gearing up for an upcoming Turkish food workshop on June 28, says, “Cooking is therapy when I do, I forget everything around me. That’s exactly why we will be having a therapy session at the workshop where we will cook two easy dishes for beginners.” The food festival, which ends on July 3, also has a lucky draw where the winners would get a free three-day stay at the Turkey Hyatt Place, so go grab a bite and the offer, we’d say!



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