It was a free day in Istanbul at the end of our great Turkish holiday. We had done the main sites and the boat tour of the Bosporus. What to do?
Looking at some of the tourist promotions I found the ad for Eveline Zoutendjik’s alaturka cooking class. Eveline was born and raised in the Netherlands, went to Paris and studied at the Cordon Bleu, worked in a Michelin star kitchen, then in the respected St. Regis Hotel in New York and eventually made her way to Istanbul, the city she fell in love with.
She works with Chef Feyzi Yildirim, who grew up in Southern Turkey. She says they work well together because they both like bold flavours while using less oil and sugar than what is usually found locally in restaurants. But they both like garlic and spices. All of us who attended the class appreciated that.
After considerable hotel experience in Turkey Eveline decided it was time to venture out on her own. We are sure glad she did.
It not only turned out to be a great decision it to take the cooking class with Eveline at her little cooking school, it ended up being one of the highlights of out trip.
We shared the experience with eight other couples, each person cutting, chopping, and mixing the ingredients for 5 separate dishes.
We all mixed and chopped and listened and learned. There was a lot of laughter as we got to know our fellow classmates from around the world.
We had a lot of fun creating the meal and gained a lot of knowledge in the process.
After the food was cooked we all sat together over a couple of glasses of wine to consume what we had cooked. Even more fun as we compared tastes of each different dish appropriately flavoured with items from their world famous spice market.
One of the dishes was a stuffed eggplant dish.
I am not a fan of eggplant but this was exceptional.
We have her recipes which we have recreated for guests, and we have new knowledge which can be applied to other recipes as well.
I strongly recommend this as a good way to appreciate the tastes of Turkey.
Her website is www.cookingalaturka.com