Many times over the past few years I have found myself walking around the Pera neighborhood of Beyoglu (Taksim) and I would be reminded of this beautiful culinary academy which exists. I was always passing at inconvenient times, but I would peek in the window of their downstairs restaurant Enstitu, which was always busy with chic looking people; I would take a gander at the menu of the day which was prepared by the chefs in training and I would tell myself I must come back. I have culinary training and I was itching to take a look at their academy.
The Istanbul Culinary Institute is located in a gorgeous modern facility. The first level is the restaurant serving 3 meals a day all prepared by the budding chefs. The menu changes frequently and it is based on the local, sustainable and seasonal culinary ideology of which the Institute adheres to through their partnership with Saros Farm. While the Institute is primarily a professional training facility it does offer monthly amatuer workshops and evening courses. When I learned that a Turkish cook, Ozlem Warren, who’s blog I follow was offering a class I jumped at the opportunity.
A group of about 10 other ladies and I spent 3 hours in their beautiful kitchen learning about Southern Turkish cuisine. The course was perfect for an amatuer cook or traveller looking to learn more about Turkish fare. We had a vegetarian with us and it was no problem to supplement her dish accordingly.
After several hours of instruction and cooking our meals were complete. We then moved to the community dining table to enjoy the fruits of our labor.We ate our meal over several bottles of wine and there was a pleasant feeling of comradery.
I came alone having known nobody and I felt very comfortable. I would recommend this for anyone who is interested in learning more about Turkish food. The price was 120 Turkish Lira and I felt it was well worth the cost. You can find their monthly course calendar here. You can also contact the Institute through their website IstanbulCulinary.com or call directly 0212 251 22 14.
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