Lale Sürmen Aran
Cooking Class
Learning about eating habits, traditions and cuisine of a culture is an important element of travel.
For this reason, we modified a city walk of the Rick Steves Istanbul tour and incorporated a culinary experience within. The city tour is conducted with food tasting now. So, our travelers joining this tour are getting a great exposure to different kinds of local food they would not have tasted on own in a restaurant. 
Participants of the Rick Steves Best of Turkey Tour have been expressing interest for a cooking class and learning more about the food. There are several cooking classes in Istanbul, in a wide variety. However, time needed to attend to such a class in Istanbul, combined with travel time in a very crowded city easily takes more than half a day, too much time anyone can dedicate during the tour. 
The Rick Steves Best of Turkey tours stay for 3 nights in a historical village in Cappadocia (Mustafapaşa) during the tour. Quite unusual for a village to have a collage, there is a Vocational Collage housed in the historical madrasah. It has number of departments, and one is the department of Culinary Arts. The head of the department is an award winning idealist chef who dedicated himself in training young people.

of our cooking class


I have been trying to convince him for putting together a cooking class for our tour members. Chef Remzi finally agreed, on the condition that I was his translator for the first of these classes, for the trial session. So, I flew down from Istanbul to Cappadocia past Friday to assist the cooking class.
up the steps of the Haralambos Soultanides Mansion.
The class was held at the kitchen of the Culinary Arts Depatment, in the historic Haralambos Soultanides mansion from 1892. This was going to be first time for the Che Remzi to teach non-students, and it was going to be my first time translating food and cooking.
Meeting with our chef, Remzi Güçlü
Five tour members understanding that they would be the “ginea pig” bravely sacrificed themselves for a greater good and future travelers.
on our gear!
When we entered the kitchen, the professionalism of the chef and his experience in what he was doing spoke for itself. There were five stations, one for each participant. They were lined around the endustrial stoves we would be using. All the ingredients that were to be used were laid on the stations. Menu and the recipes were neatly printed and waiting for us. Our chef had two of his student assist us.
working stations were around the stoves
The class started with the Chef Remzi giving a short introductory lecture about the Turkish cuisine. He moved into explaining the materials / food on the stations and what we would cook for the day.
Chef Remzi demonstrated how to, so we prepared food both by watching and
listening to him.
a tea break and admiring awards of Chef Remzi.
the root of the pepper
During the few hours we spent, we prepared and cooked 3 different mezes (appetizers), a soup, main course and delicious desserts. The experience ended with dining under the arches of the school refectory.
on own


tender lamb!
in the school refectory
At the end, collectively all of us decided that it was a great experience. And, we hoped the collage board would grant permission for more classes in the future.
photo at the lobby of the Haralambos Soultanides Mansion