Erkan Bostancı – Sous chef at the Hilton Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka
Erkan Bostancı work as a sous chef at the Hilton Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka. He tells us about his exciting career and what it’s like to work as a sous chef in a very well known company. Read here.
You currently work as sous chef at the Hilton Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka. You have a lot of experience behind you with chef positions in Turkey, what were the beginnings of your career?
Each country adds its own experience and I love taking risks. I want to see every country’s food culture. When I was offered a job in Baghdad to build a Turkish restaurant, I accepted without even thinking about it. I set up the team and went there. Everything came together at the same time. We opened 3 restaurants simultaneously. It was a very valuable experience for me and I had a chance to meet Chef Kazi Hassan. He said he wanted to open a Turkish restaurant for Hilton Colombo Graze kitchens and work with me. After we presented the test food, we started working together. I’m very happy here, we’re like family with the guests, I make all kinds of sacrifices to make them happy, because this is my job.
What’s your passion in being a chef?
My hometown is famous for its professional chefs, Bolu Mengen. I grew up there and since I was young my dream was to be a chef. I like doing things differently in my life, things where adrenaline is high. I like to communicate with people and produce solutions to problems. I decided to attend Culinary School. Whatever job you choose in life, do it with feeling and shoot for perfection, that’s why I do this with passion.
Which cooking school did you attend?
CHEF ANATOLIAN HOTEL MANAGEMENT TOURISM VOCATIONAL SCHOOL BOLU MENGEN TURKEY.
You are a Turkish chef, how would you describe Turkish Cuisine best?
There is a very rich food culture and we can’t describe the Turkish cuisine with just a few words but I like to say Turkish cuisine influenced by Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines. I’d like to give you a taste of it someday. To show differences by region – soups- meat dishes-vegetable dishes-pastry, bakery, Turkish Drinks, Turkish Desserts Turkish regional dishes and street delicacies as well.
What are some new developments at Turkish Cuisine?
Many fine dining Turkish restaurants are opening and Turkish cuisine can cater to any country. Culinary schools are on the rise as is industry that supplies kitchen equipment.
In Bagdad, Iraq, you worked as Sous Chef for an opening of a Turkish restaurant. What did you learn from that time/ how did you see Bagdad from a culinary point of view?
It’s hard to find a lot of products there, however, I served the product available in the best and the most innovative way possible to please our guests and keep the kitchen functioning at a high level.
Today as Sous Chef at the Hilton Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka. What is the culinary set up there?
I prepare food here which is very well-known in Turkey. We are here to provide our guests with the best service we possibly can. On top of this we have special Turkish shows on special days, daily dinner buffets, Turkish sweets and personalized menus for special invitations.
How do you like the Sri Lankan Cuisine?
It is a culture very different from Turkish food. They make many more spicy dishes, especially the dishes I love of course.
Did you find/ create any Turkish – Sri Lankan recipes which fit well to each other?
Their cooking techniques, food cultures, sauces and spices are very different , only our salads are similar.
With your different experiences so far; how would you describe your own culinary style?
I like innovation all the time. I enjoy training and training. There’s no limit to learning in the kitchen, but it must be fun and disciplined
Can you share some of your favourite creations with us?
I love to combine different cuisines on a plate according to the region needs.
Do you have a special cooking technique?
Of course, basic kitchen cooking is technique, but it’s more difficult to cook as an art. It’s up to you to enjoy cooking. You need to cook with love.
Do you use in your cooking some lesser known spices?
Yes, for example, I strongly recommend using cinnamon in pilaf and zucchini in cake.
And lesser known vegetables?
With vegetables, you should try to make desserts also
to make rice with fruits.
Where would you like to work as chef one day in the future?
I want to work with professional chefs who know more than me, where we can share our knowledge and enjoy our work.
Thank you Erkan.
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