The Marmara Pera
Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15,
We have intercepted him at the 2010 Sydney Food Festival in Sydney while he was explaining, speaking pure American English learnt at the school of hotel management in Providence, Rhode Island, the evolutions of Turkish cuisine, the country of his father, contaminated by a few Scandinavian techniques he learnt because he was born and spent his childhood in Tammisaari, Finland, the country of his mum, who in her turn is half Swedish.
Whipped in this geographical whirl, Mehmet Gürs doesn’t lose his identity in the kitchen: Turkish/global. In his restaurant Mikla, at the last floor of the Marmara Pera in Istanbul, the hotel which from Beyoglu looks over the Golden Horns and the Topkapi, Mehmet (the letter H has to be heard) draws the characteristic features of the New Anatolian Cuisine being careful to lighten the dead-weights of tradition «not an easy task because with us if something is hot, it is really hot, if it is sweet it is really sweet». Actually, it seems to hear the Turkish twin of a Bottura or Atala explaining that the baklava can be delicious also without all that sugar, that makes caries appear only thinking of it. Or that hummus can be prepared with green lentils from Thrace (and cinnamon and cumin) instead of chick-peas. Or that in the same region joyful tasty lambs graze, whose shoulders he will cook at low temperature for days and days, according to the golden regulation of contemporary cuisine.
However, he will protect them with bulgur, pesto made with plums and salty yoghurt. And he will spend a great part of the remaining time to show the different types of pistachio existing in Turkey, from Gaziantep to Cappadocia. Ingredients from other worlds, new headwords that knocks at the continental gastronomical vocabulary which, differently from the dusty tomes piled up in Strasbourg or Brussels, is always happy to offer its white pages.
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes.
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Turkish chef Mehmet Gürs in a photo from a couple of years ago, when he presented the New Anatolian Cuisine
According to Viviana Varese of restaurant Alice inside Eataly Milano one should not throw away anything, not even fish bones, which are good for making a jus or even a sauce