The innovative old-school chef

The 59-year-old chef, Musa Daǧdeviren is a pioneer when it comes to cooking traditional Turkish cuisine. His vision on ethnical problems and cultural believes give him the power to inspire others. Musa owns three restaurants in Istanbul, made over a dozen food magazines and produced his own cookbook; The Turkish Cookbook.

Text and photos by Gijs de Boer

When he was a young boy, he already knew he wanted to become a chef and throughout his life he never stopped with being curious about food. He is also is making a stand when it comes to the disappearance of Turkish food culture. “When I talk about ‘Turkish’ culture, I mean something different than most people. To me the Turkish culture consists of Armenians, Uyghurs, Jews, Romanians and so on”, he explains. Musa thinks the Turkish food culture is disappearing since the Turks are trying to imitate other countries. “When I say Turkish culture is disappearing, I mean this geographically. Food, tradition we are losing everything, because we’re trying to imitate other cultures and traditions”, he says. “For example, nowadays in restaurants Turkish people sell their coffee as Turkish coffee but should just be coffee to us. It is the way we make coffee. We’re eliminating our culture and tradition in this way”, he continuous.

The way he collects ingredients, cooking techniques and recipes is admirable. He says, “I collect my work in public places and don’t focus on one type of food or one type of cooking technique or one type of recipe.” “When I ‘collect’ food I also take geographical customs into consideration what is typical for that region. I analyze it and make it. I go to provinces and talk to locals to learn their techniques. I preferably talk to de elderly people, because they are more experienced. I also take the seasonal aspect in consideration”, he concludes.