Yesterday, Kitchen Lab was turned into a meeting ground for two different cultures. Two ethnicities which share similar flavors, aromas, words and creations in gastronomy.
Our doors were flung wide open and we happily welcomed Arda Turkmen, the famous Turkish chef and his team. With him were Asli Aksungur, the culture and tourism attaché in the Turkish Embassy in Athens, as well as many Greek reporters that filled Kitchen Lab with their presence.
We had started preparing Kitchen Lab early in the morning, making sure it was as warm, friendly and inviting as possible for our much anticipated guests.
The atmosphere was lively and full of laughter. Everyone was anxious for the moment that we would make our appearance with Arda.
And that moment finally arrived! With all the cameras around us, next to our pots and pans with the smells of cumin and all of the aromas and spices, I felt like we were two good friends who were cooking together and discovering all of the common flavors between our countries… the “meze”, “meatballs” “dolmades” and of course “baklava”.
The dishes prepared in order to welcome our guests, were made with much enthusiasm, inspiration and joy from our whole team. As expected, they had a strong Eastern influence, and more specifically, Turkish.
Traditional sweets, such as halvah, ekmek kataifi and rice pudding stole the show! Humus, cheese pie, moussaka tart, lamb burger with spices, potato balls with ground meat and tomato sauce are some of the few dishes that clearly showed the similarity between the Turkish and Greek cuisine.
I was very impressed with Arda and so was everyone who met him. He is a warm, polite, kind, funny and very talented individual with great ideas. I believe he has a bright future ahead of him with many things to do and a lot of delicious creations to impress us all with! I find it wonderful that he travels the world to give the chance to everyone to get acquainted with Turkish cooking. I think he sets a wonderful example that everyone should follow.
It was an exceptional and fun meeting that I believe is the beginning of a real friendship between two people that share such love and dedication to the art of cooking. We made plans to meet again… and this time we will be meeting in Constantinople!!