Asli was a part-time teacher at a University in Istanbul. After a long career in Istanbul, running a travel company and a hotel she changed her life to become a chef in Bodrum. She has collected many recipes and stories while traveling all over Turkey and abroad and inherited many from her family members and now she used to run a well-known restaurant in Bodrum and is willing to share what she has saved all her life and is trying to promote Turkish cuisine to the world as much as she can.
Haluk used to be an industrial designer. After a long career in Istanbul from banking to construction, he decided to follow his destiny, and ever since, he has been painting. He exhibited his work at many exhibitions in Turkey, Australia, and the USA. The house is his palette and there is artwork all over the place, he loves to teach and share his knowledge about painting, history of art, and the country.
Ayla Ortabaşı has a classical Miniature and Islamic Arts major from the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul, she will help you learn about the classical Ottoman painting arts during this vacation.
a traveler United Kingdom
We had been considering a holiday cooking day for a while, and booked after reading the positive reviews on TripAdvisor. Booking was easy, although we couldn't pay the deposit online as PayPal's services were suspended for Turkey at that time, however the online site was well laid out and user friendly. Correspondence with Asli was by email and her English is excellent (having studied in the US). On the day we were met by her husband, Haluk (who also speaks excellent English after time spent in the US), and visited several markets to learn about the products we were to use. There were plenty of samples to try and a lot of photos taken (including several with Elvis!). The class itself was at their home in Karova and was informal but very informative. Under a relaxed instruction we prepared barbunya pilaki (cranberry beans in tomato sauce), börek (cheese stuffed filo triangles), biber dolma (rice stuffed peppers), yoğurtlu kabak cacığı (zucchinis in yoghurt), rumeli mantısı (filo roses served with garlic yoghurt), and biber ekşileme (roasted bell peppers in garlic vinegrette) aided by fresh, home-made iced tea. We all then ate together (along with their son Omer) in the garden area in the shade but with a spectacular view. The atmosphere was so relaxed, friendly and homely that we did feel a little guilty leaving the washing up to be done after we had left! We are all 'foodies', but this trip would be suitable for anyone who appreciates good food and was a memorable and enjoyable experience. Many thanks to Asli, Haluk and Omer for a day we will still be talking about for years to come (and for the details of the food we prepared)!
This was my second class cooking with Asli, this time returning with a friend. As always it was a great opportunity to see the best of local produce in the market, as Asli guided us through the market to the more unique and smaller producers. Back in her kitchen we learned not only the techniques for preparation, but also gained insight into the food stories associated with the ingredients and the cuisine of Turkey. We finished off by tasting our handy-work with a number of dishes, while sitting in the sunshine and looking over the countryside. Overall, a very enjoyable afternoon!
Although the tour was not at all what was described on the website, it was absolutely delightful. We went to the market, then on a driving tour and onto a gourmet shop, then for a Turkish coffee in a small seaside village. We arrived at Asli's for lunch, which we had in the lovely garden. The food was excellent, and although she discovered only one hour before serving the main dish that my daughter was vegetarian, she still managed to present a meatless version of our main course, which was not only very thoughtful of her, but also delicious. We were served real home cooked food that you do not find in main stream restaurant. As I asked her where to find vintage kilims, Asli then went out of her way to drive us to a carpet selling village. Thanks again for a lovely day!