Writing about restaurants has always been a part of The Guide Istanbul’s DNA, but now we are taking it one step further.
Preparing food is not as easy as Instagram may suggest—understanding what’s happening on the plate requires knowledge of the processes taking place in the kitchen. There are also other benefits to cooking: from health perks to the cherished moments spent around a table with your loved ones, digging into the culinary arts may be the most lucrative investment you will ever make.
Many of us are taught how to cook by our families, with our mothers, fathers, and grandparents each passing down their own techniques and tricks of the trade. After learning these basics, some may wish to expand their cooking know-how for professional or personal reasons. Istanbul offers plenty of opportunity to widen one’s culinary horizons, whatever the purpose may be.
Becoming a pro
Istanbul’s The Culinary Arts Academy (Mutfak Sanatlar Akademisi, or MSA) has been one of the most important culinary institutions of the city for over a decade, shaping local tastes and training the next generation of gastronomy professionals at a level comparable to international standards. You can find the alumni working in every single restaurant that matters in Istanbul.
The arrival of Le Cordon Bleu in Istanbul made a major impact on the city’s culinary landscape. The name alone, calling to mind its Michelin-starred alumni, is known for excellence. Operating in numerous locations around the world and staffed with international experts, the Istanbul location, which was created in partnership with Özyeğin University, exceeds expectations. The institution continues to offer professional programs in general cuisine and patisserie.
In your free time
Cooking classes have become one of Istanbulites’ favorite ways to spend free time. As such, it also made them very selective. Operated by one of the biggest players in Istanbul’s restaurant industry, Doğuş Group, Dream Akademi offers short programs ideal to master a particular set of skills. According to your interests, you can choose between working with an ingredient of your choice, focus on special type of cuisine, or learn to prepare dishes for a special occasion. For program, prices, and tickets visit mobilet.com.
One of the newest kids on the culinary education’s block, Kanyon’s İntema Yaşam organizes workshops that perfectly align with the latest food trends. As a part of the İntema Yaşam Academy, participants can learn not only kitchen skills but also wine-food pairings, and there are special workshops organized for children age 10-15. If you do not have the right setup available at home, İntema offers professional kitchen rentals where you can master and display your skills in front of a group of your favorite people. All bookings can be done via biletix.com.
Learn at home
If your schedule makes it difficult to plan afterwork activities in advance, you can still follow your passion from the comfort of your own home. Renowned Istanbul chef Şemsa Denizsel brings culinary arts to the masses with her YouTube channel. Tutorial videos vary in difficulty and range from home cooking to signature Kantin-style recipes. You can also visit Le Firin’s Bengi Kurtcebe’s YouTube channel to hone your pastry-making skills or watch Neolokal’s Maksut Aşkar on television’s 24Kitchen.