A Pinch of Anatolia- Meet Musa Dağdeviren

A Pinch of Anatolia, launched in 2019 by Yunus Emre Institute in London to introduce the rich Anatolian cuisine and its heritage, hosted its first event of 2020 with famous chef and food anthropologist Musa Dağdeviren.

The talk organized on 26Th January at King’s College London started with Yunus Emre Institute Director Dr Mehmet Karakuş. In his opening speech, Dr Karakuş, spoke of the 2020 events calendar and the ‘A Pinch of Anatolia’ project. This was followed by the screening of the Musa Dağdeviren episode of the Netflix documentary series ‘Chef’s Table’, which showed the life of a famous Turkish chef for the first time.

Visiting London for the first time, Musa Dağdeviren spoke of how Turkey is also home to people of many different cultures and cuisines. Dağdeviren also highlighted the importance of the different culinary practices in bridging gaps between the different cultures. He also mentioned the important role of humans in carrying forward the practices of previous generations and how he aims to pass on culinary traditions that he has learnt from his mother.

Later in the talk, he spoke of the regional cuisine brought to Istanbul from all over Turkey and how he wanted to be a part of this prosperity by opening his restaurant, “Ciya Sofrasi”. Also speaking as a Food Anthropologist, Dağdeviren mentioned different cultures and how they made certain recipes on special days, the stories of these dishes and he shared how certain recipes were only made in specific seasons.

The famous chef realised the importance of preserving the food traditions of Anatolia and decided to create a book for this purpose. Over 18 months he went to 40 different villages and spoke with the elderly to learn from and pass on their experience of the local cuisine with the younger generations through this book. After the talk Dağdeviren had a book signing for his book, “The Turkish Cookbook”, published by Phaidon and a winner of the 2020 Gourmand Award under the Chef Book section.

As for the “exclusive supper club” on January 28th, Chef Musa Dağdeviren prepared a selection of tasty Anatolian dishes for the guests to taste at the Laz@Camden restaurant.

The guests including, BBC Food Editor Barney Desmazery, famous chef and author Niki Segnit, winner of BBC’s “Great British Menu” and restaurant owner Selin Kiazim, writers and journalists Salma and Layla Haidriani, Phaidon Managing Director James Booth-Clibborn, master chef and writer Yotam Ottolenghi, cofounder and chef of Michelin starred Sabor restaurant Nieves Barragan enjoyed the selection of foods made with local ingredients as the dishes histories were explained.

From a menu that included the Black Sea’s Chestnut soup and Antalya’s White Bean salad to Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia’s Kibbeh, Fish Pickle with Sour Cherries and Lamb with Yoghurt and the Aegean’s and Marmara’s Bulgur Pilaf with Chestnuts and Quince Sherbet guests enjoyed a great selection of Anatolia’s rich cuisine.