I was born in Zeynep Kamil, Istanbul. My middle name is Kamil. I’m the first born of my father, a lawyer, and mother, an architecture school drop-out. My sister is the Eurovision Contest winner soprano Sertab. I grew up in Binbirdirek Park at Sultanahmet, Resit Pasa primary school, in the snowy spring waters of Akcay, in Robert College’s gardens, in Dostoyevski and Oguz Atay novels, in Bogazici University, in Serif Mardin’s noble assistance, in Nietzche, in Hayek, in Nozick. I became a liberal. I became a pragmatist. I became an advertiser. I had success at a local agency. The agency was sold to a foreign company. I headed the company. I served both as the executive director and screenwriter. Throughout the years I learned that advertising is not a mind game but rather an emotional one. I tried to learn all there is about my job. In the mean time, I left the foreign company after having a fall out with the big boss. My clients stuck with me. Most have trusted me with their brands for over 20 years. I married 3 times. I am the father of 3; Emine who is 23, Ali Omer who is 17, and Azazarif who is 3. I am both the fan and husband of Nil Karaibrahimgil. I read. I draw. I write ads. I shoot ads. I shoot arrows. I swing racquets. I think of myself as an architect. I even design stages. I eat little. I read the most. I read the most about evolution, science and neuroscience. I am 56. I lament every day about all there is to do and learn in the world. And I bemoan the nightfall every day.
Comedian, Actor, Film Producer
His talent and interest for caricatures led him to work for Leman during his college years. He did his first show at Leman Kültür Merkezi while working at Leman. He then started doing shows at Beşiktaş Kültür Merkezi, succeeding in making a name for himself. He has done over 4,000 shows. In 1998, he began a career in film with his movie Her Şey Çok Güzel Olacak. He acted in 10, including Turkish classics G.O.R.A, A.R.O.G, Hokkabaz, Yahşi Bati and Pek Yakında, and did voiceovers for 3 movies. While advancing his film career, he continued his stage work doing 4 sold-out stand-up comedy shows. In cooperation with Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra he conducted the orchestra twice in concert. He released a DVD of his college visits. During his career, he became the brand ambassador for many brands. He was featured in numerous successful ad campaigns including ones for Panasonic, Opet, Turk Telekom, Turkiye Iş Bankası and Doritos. He has authored one book and has released 3 of his movie scripts as books. He has been awarded many awards, including Sadri Alışık Best Male Actor Award, 4th Yeşilçam Best Male Actor Awards, Brussels International Independent Film Festival Best Male Actor Award.
Manajans J. Walter Thompson, CEO & CCO
He has won more than 150 awards for creativity, influence and perfection. He is one of the 2 Turkish Creative Directors who has won Cannes Lions’s Big5. He has served as a jury member for numerous international awards. He has lectured at universities. In her 4 years at Grey, he has had a great influence on the agency’s success, both nationally and internationally.
Acetaia San Giacomo, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Producer and Sensory Analyst at Parmigiano Reggiano Control and Quality Department
He took over his father’s passion when he passed away in 1994. At that time he was studying law. When he got the law degree he decided to dedicate his life to the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia and vinegars in general. He founded Acetaia San Giacomo.
He is the president of the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia D.O.P. He is a certified sensory analyst for the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia D.O.P. and a certified sensory analyst for the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
At the moment, he is a Ph.D. student in Science, Technology, and biotechnology of agri-food products. The Ph.D. is about an innovative system for home production of vinegars and vinegars from innovative raw materials.
Future Food Institute, Corporate Relations & Global Mission Program Manager
Beatriz has worked in the Gastrodiplomacy field as she believes in the power of food for bringing people together and fostering intercultural understanding. She has also explored food as an educational tool, and has developed her own food-based methodology to enhance creativity and entrepreneurial skills. She is currently working at Future Food after going on a mission with the Food Innovation Program to explore trends and innovations in the 10 global food hubs. She has conducted Design Thinking projects for companies like Barilla and Tetra Pak. Currently, she is researching the impacts of trends and technologies and is building strategies for a better future with companies in the sector, and is leading Future Food’s expansión strategy in Spain.
Antre Gourmet, Founder
Born in 1969 in Istanbul, Berrin Bal Onur started her career as a sales executive and served as an advertising coordinator in various publications of Sabah and Hürriyet magazine groups. She received sales-marketing training in UK between 1993-1994. During the period when private radio broadcasting was developing, she structured sales organizations in the position of advertising group coordinator of Show TV broadcast group radios.
In 2000, she co-founded Antre Gourmet, Turkey’s first company specializing in cheese and local products, with Neşe Aksoy Biber. In 2007, she obtained MSA / City & Guilds International School of Professional Cooking diploma.
She co-authored two books named “Peynir Aşkına” and “50 Peynirli Şehir Balıkesir” with Berrin Bal Onur, and continues her consultancy, education, research and travel studies on cheese. She is also involved in operations aiming to strengthen economic status and quality of life of women with low-income of KEDV-Kadın Emeğini Değerlendirme Vakfı (Foundation for Making Use of Women’s Labor), in which she is one of the directors. She is a member of YUCITA (Local Products and Geographical Signs Research Network in Turkey).
A prominent representative of the Italian cuisine, Michelin star chef Cristina Bowerman, developed special discipline and techniques, working a lot on sharpness, definition and concentration of flavors.
Under her guidance and her innovative approach, iconic restaurant Glass Hostaria is an attraction point for tourists as well as the locals. Glass Hostaria is a space contemporary in the environment and innovative in its philosophy and gastronomic proposal.
In 2001 she studied cooking at the French Cullinary Institute in New York. She worked at the Eleven Madison Park restaurant. After returning to Istanbul, she made “Little Dishes” at Nu Teras. Between 2005 and 2009, she was the head chef of Dionysos Hotel. In 2010, she published her first book “Kızınız Defne’yi Oğlumuz İskorpite…(We kindly request your daughter Defne( bay leaf ) to our son İskorpit(Scorpion-fish)” from Yapı Kredi Yayınları (Publishing House).
She opened Lokanta Maya in Karaköy in May 2010 and Gram in Şişhane in May 2012. She was granted the Best Chef Award at the Time Out Istanbul 2010 Food and Drink Awards, the winners of which are determined by votes cast online and by questionnaries. Her second book ‘Some Maya, Some Gram‘was also published by Yky in the same year. The number of Gram restaurants reached 4 in 2017. She continues to think of cooking with seasonal and local ingredients. She thinks she owes all her remarkable work to the amazing team she works with.
FineDine, Founding Partner and General Manager
Duygu Kutluoğlu Kılıç was born in 1984, in Istanbul. After completing her secondary and high school education at Kadikoy Anatolian High School, she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electronic Engineering Department at Istanbul Technical University. She worked as a research assistant in Istanbul Technical University and Koç University, and in Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland from 2008 to 2010.
Duygu Kutluoğlu Kılıç, who started her career in the private sector in 2010, worked as a Software Engineer, Solutions Architect and Team Manager in Huawei Turkey, between the years 2010 and 2012. She worked in China for about 1 year for the projects she undertook within this company.
In 2012, she began to work in Pozitron, a rapidly growing venture in Turkey, as a Project Manager, and as of 2014, she started working as a Project Management Director within the same company.
Duygu Kutluoğlu Kılıç, who founded FineDine initiative with her partner Adil Burak Kılıç in 2015, still serves as a General Manager within this initiative.
FineDine is a restaurant technology company with one base in America, serving more than 500 restaurants in 45 countries.
Head of Grundig Turkey, Omnichannel Development and Communication Manager
Having graduated from the BA Department of İstanbul Bilgi University as of 2002, Handan Abdurrahmanoğlu then completed the “Executive MBA” program of Koç University as of 2014.
Having embarked to her career in 2003 at the export department of Arçelik, Abdurrahmanoğlu served as regional director of Central Europe in 2012, and of Eastern Europe in 2015. Alongisde her leadership in the omni-channel transformation of Arçelik in the years of 2016- 2017, Abdurrahmanoğlu was concurrently at the head of Grundig’s organization in Turkey.
Having accomplished the re-launching of Grundig in Turkey within the frame of the intended brand positioning, Abdurrahmanoğlu has introduced Ruhun Doysun (Feed Your Soul) platform.
Having been renown for not only pioneering the brand’s awareness movement, but also for her main field of operation in digital sector, and for her success in putting marketing into practice in real terms Abdurrahmanoğlu has been carrying on her services in Grundig Turkey as Group Manager.
Food and Beverage Educator, Journalist, Cookbook Author
Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage educator and journalist. Originally from New Jersey, she has an art history degree from Yale, a master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture from the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, a sommelier certificate from the Federazione Italiana Sommelier Albergatori Ristoratori, and an archeological speleology certification from the city of Rome.
Katie’s mission is to highlight great food and beverages, praise the people dedicated to feeding us well, and to get readers talking about what they are eating and drinking. She focuses special attention on Rome, where she lives, threats to local food culture, and critical reviews of restaurants and trends.
She has written and edited more than 20 books and her food criticism and travel writing have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times, Saveur, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Condé Nast Traveller UK, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure, Lucky Peach, Corriere della Sera, Imbibe, Monocle, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Olive, AFAR, Punch, Wine Enthusiast, National Geographic Traveler, Eater, Delicious, Epicurious, Serious Eats, Food Republic, The Atlantic, Gather Journal, and The Sunday Times Magazine.
Katie is the author of the ebook “Eating & Drinking in Rome” (available for Kindle, Nook,and in PDF format), the mobile apps “Katie Parla’s Rome” and “Katie Parla’s Istanbul”, and the book National Geographic’s Walking Rome.
Her cookbook, Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, co-authored with photographer Kristina Gill, is on sale now.
Kenan Yıldırım was born in 1987 in Istanbul. He studied business administration. While he was working on sales marketing, he started feeling how pleasing was traveling and discovering new things, and started writing about this. In 2011, he started sharing articles based on his diaries on gezmelerdeyim.com and on social media accounts he opened with the same name and started going ahead in this direction.
Besides traveling and exploring new destinations, different and local tastes and street food is one of his favorite topics.
He also writes articles for various magazines and continues to pursue his passion of discovering.
After graduating from the Department of Tourism Management at Bilkent University, he went to Switzerland, where he was mentored by Stephane Montmayeur and Laval Alain, who managed the restaurants of Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse. On his return to Turkey, he worked for some time in Ankara and undertook managerial positions in Argos in Cappadocia, Mimolett, respectively. Then, he worked as a F&B Director of Tomtom Suites and launched the La Mouette project, in which he served as a Chef-Manager, with Üryan Doğmuş, with whom he later launched their own projects and opened Gile Restaurant in 2012 and Tabla Restaurant in 2014, which interprets street food inside Nupera building. In the summer of 2015, with Üryan Doğmuş, he opened Tabla Alaçatı in Hacımemiş Quarter. He was featured in local and foreign press, particularly in many important newspapers and magazines, including Vogue, The Guardian, der Feinschmeiker, as well as in important TV channels of Italy and Canada. In 2008, he was awarded the Most Promising Youth prize by Bilkent University, followed by GQ “Men of The Year” in the best Chef Category in 2013 and Gecce.com’s “Chief of the Year” in 2014.
In April 2017, he served as the Executive Chef of Spago Istanbul with 2 Michelin Stars, which has 35 years of gastronomic culture. In October, he launched a rip-roaring project called Zula İstanbul in the back streets of Istanbul. In March 2018, with the special invitation of Wolfgang Puck, Turkish Food was served for the first time under the leadership of Cihan Kıpçak in the 90th Oscar Ceremony. Immediately afterwards, he prepared the Turkish Tasting menu at the 2 Michelin Star Spago Beverly Hills. He’s preparing to bring an Eclectic approach to the classic bistro theme with ”Bâtard” in Bomonti, which will be opened in late October.
Mehmet Ateş’s life as a photographer started as a student at the Media Studies Department of Marmara Univrsity in 1997 and gained a professional dimension when he went on to magazine photography in 1998.
He converted his first studio from a dilapidated house in Beyoğlu… He covered the damp walls of the corridors of his studio with blue plaster on sacking and succeeded in creating his own underwater map that constantly changed shape. There, for two years Mehmet Ateş entertained his clients with chestnuts cooked on his stove. In 2002 he moved to his present studio.
In 2003 a new adventure began from an editorial point of view while working for the Sabah Magazine Group. On this journey that at the beginning focused mainly on decoration and style he became acquainted with food photography. In 2008 when he joined the Ciner Magazine Group as photo editor he found the opportunity to enhance his skills on the subject of food photography with the magazines La Cucina Italiana and Food and Travel.
Now he works freelance focusing on food photography.
Since 2011, with his passion for learning and teaching, Mehmet Ateş has been holding a Food Photography Workshop with his colleague Erkin Ön for people who wish to add some flavor to their photographs.
Mehmet Ateş has found the opportunity to exploit the freedom of the creative atmosphere of the editorial world and represents an astatic, innovative and global perception of photography.
Istanbul Food Beverage Group, Founder, Chief
While acting as the chef and partner of 21 successful enterprises, including “Mikla” from İstanbul Foods & Beverages Group, Mehmet Gürs is renowned for being the pioneer of the modern restaurant business in İstanbul, and has made a distinguished name for himself with the visionary project he has commenced, namely “New Anatolian Cuisine”. In this approach, he displays not only his respect for the traditional and really “noble” products, but also his efforts to create the cuisine of the future out of a combination of the traditional and innovative methods. Thanks to their intense researches and creative processes, on which they concentrated for long years, a vast network composed of researcher chefs, a full-time Anthropologist, countrymen, mothers, and grandmothers with in-depth fund of knowledge on the regional products, methods, and habits. All these efforts have brought along a successful collaboration of the real owners of the land and the chefs of the city. As the reward of such collaboration, having made its debut at rank no.96, Mikla jumped by 40 ranks, and reached to no.56 as of 2016, and continued its advance up to number 56 as of 2017. In 2018, it secured its position within the top 50 by reaching to no.44. Mikla has thereby become the first Turkish restaurant that was ranked in the list for four consecutive years.
Alongside Mikla, Gürs also operates the brands, namely the comfy family restaurants chain “numnum café & restaurant”, the Italian restaurant “Trattoria Enzo”, the innovative self-service restaurant “Terra Kitchen”, together with the groundbreaking coffee industry brand of “Kronotrop Coffee Bar & Roastery”. Specialist roasters and baristas of Kronotrop, the leader in the 3rd generation coffee business in Turkey, represent Turkey in the world championships for the last two years. Buzzfeed has mentioned of Kronotrop among the best 25 coffee-makers that should by any means be visited in a lifetime.
İstanbul Foods & Beverages Group has remained to be referred as the pioneer of the Gastronomy sector in Turkey.
Mehmet Kırali happened upon Instagram after having worked at the corporate life for long years. Despite the heavy workload of his career, he has always spared some time for taking photos, which is his greatest passion. Thanks to Instagram, he could have displayed the photos he took at the world-class projects he participated in, and during his efforts in promoting destinations to the view of greater masses. Having been writing travel reviews in various publications, and managing social-media strategies, Kırali considers sharing of discoveries as a vital motivation.
Dude Table, Director of Food Marketing Strategic Consulting Agency
Merve Akgül, a graduate of Boğaziçi University, School of Business Administration, figured out during his studies at the university that imagining is the most important competence so she suspended her studies and received the Visionary Leadership education from the European School of Economics, Florence, which is the university of Stefano D’Anna, the author of the book “The School for Gods”, and completed her studies at the university along with the said education. By the courtesy of her 6-monthly training experience at Unilever Food Solutions, she met the expertise of Funda Güzelmeriç İnansal, which brings together the concepts of food and marketing, which she dreamed of. After graduating from the university and completing her training, she began to work with Funda Güzelmeriç İnansal in 2012; she is providing integrated marketing service as Turkey’s only food marketing strategic consulting agency with Funda İnansal at Dude Table. She continues to work on integrating the developing new generation of economy into the food and beverage sector as the company manager developing new generation methods and new areas at Dude Table.
Murat Bozok was born in Istanbul on December 6, 1975. After graduating from the Istanbul University, Department of Business Administration, he worked for his family’s textile business for a while until he decided to become a chef and moved to the United States to pursue his dream. While studying at the Johnston & Wales University, he also worked at local Rhode Island restaurants to gain experience.
After his graduation, his first serious work experience was at the Hyatt Regency Boston, Ritz Carlton Boston and Ritz Carlton New York. He soon found out about the importance of Michelin Star rating in the restaurant industry, and in pursuit of working for Michelin Star Restaurants, he insistently wrote to famous chefs such as Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire. Finally, his efforts paid off; he received an offer from Pierre Gagnaire, and moved to London to work at the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant; Sketch.
Subsequently, he has worked for 2.5 years at the 3 Michelin Star Restaurant Royal Hospital Road, and at 1 Star Angela Hartnett at Connought which are under the body of Gordon Ramsay Holding. After leaving this group, he moved to Paris and started to work with Joel Robuchon in the 2 Michelin Star Restaurant L’atalier de Robuchon. Having spent 8 months here, he moved back to London in order to make a contribution to the establishment of L’atalier de Robuchon.
He then returned to Gordon Ramsay Holding, and was assigned to work at the 2 Michelin Star Restaurant Petrus as a sous-chef. After working there for approximately 1.5 years, Bozok served as the head chef at the Devonshire; a Gordon Ramsay project that transformed the traditional English Pub concept into Gastro-Pubs.
Murat Bozok returned to his hometown Istanbul at the end of 2009. He opened ‘Mimolett’ restaurant, to gain the first Michelin stars in Turkey. Murat Bozok, working on his new project ‘MBK Istanbul’, a culinary school to share his experience with young chefs. He also gives consultancy to Unilever, Nestle, Ulker, Yudum, Shereton Hotels and many other companies in side the Turkey and abroad. Murat Bozok has been writing weekly column on Habertürk and Milliyet newspapers for the last five years. He also has a television program on Turkmax TV Channel, and one the three judges at ‘Masterchef Turkey’ television program.
Antre Gourmet, Founder
Born in Adana in 1971, Neşe Aksoy Biber graduated from Marmara University, Communication Faculty, Department of Radio-TV Programming, from where she also had an MA in communication.
She started her career in Sabah magazine group at the advertising department and continued her career as advertising manager in Akşam newspaper and then in CNN TÜRK as advertisement group coodinator. In 2000, she was appointed as the Marketing and Projects Coordinator at DigiTürk.During that period, she conducted corporate identity studies, e-commerce and market development activities of the company. In 2000, she founded Antre Gourmet, Turkey’s first company specializing in cheese and local products, which she founded and where she began her operations in gourmet food sector.
She co-authored two books named “Peynir Aşkına” and “50 Peynirli Şehir Balıkesir” with Berrin Bal Onur, and continues her consultancy, education, research and travel studies on cheese.
She is currently involved in commercial operations with Antre Gourmet and a member of Local Products and Geographical Signs Research Network in Turkey (YUCITA).
Social Entrepreneur; Fazla Gıda, Co-Founder & CEO
Olcay is a passionate social entrepreneur with an ambition to create a better future for all. His impact focused technology venture Fazla Gıda (Whole Surplus) is 1 of 9 startups globally supported by UNDP, which is fighting against food waste.
Olcay had a personal purpose of establishing purposeful brands and inspire youth to take action on creating new ventures with purpose and impact on focus.
With Fazla Gıda, Olcay provides food businesses the opportunity to reduce food waste related financial losses as well as food waste-related environmental and societal negative effects.
Olcay is 30 years old, married, father to one and expecting his second daughter.
Author, Istanbulfood.com, Founder
In 2009, she established the website istanbulfood.com, where she talks about food, tales of those who created it, tradesmen, local products, flavors, food state of the city and the food culture of Turkish geography.
Graduated from TED Ankara College and Bilkent University Tourism Hotel Management Department, Şatana started working in food and beverage sector in 1993 and was involved in the opening and management of many international hotels and establishments.
She describes ingredients about Turkish cuisine to restaurants, chefs and television programs at home and abroad, brings together local ingredients and chefs and restaurants, organizes long-term training in food and beverage operations and provides consulting in local tourism development projects. She continues her studies in tourism investment projects in İstanbul and gives lectures and seminars in universities and gastronomy schools from time to time.
She wrote columns in Radikal, Hürriyet and Cumhuriyet newspapers. She continues to write articles about Turkish cuisine in Turkey and the international media.
She was a co-writer in the book Meyhane Erbabının El Kitabı (Boyut, 2011), a photographer in Güneşin ve Ateşin Tadı (YKY, 2012) and contributed to the book Yashim Cooks Istanbul (Arganout Books, 2016) with her photographs.
He graduated from Tarsus American High School and the Faculty of Economical and Administrative Sciences in Başkent University. After he decided to embark on a professional culinary career, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He worked in Ritz Carlton Sarasota and Ritz Carlton Kapalua before returning to Turkey. He first served as a chef in Argos in Cappadocia Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey. He worked in Mikla Restaurant in Istanbul, and then as a F&B director and chef in Tomtom Suits with Cihan Kıpçak. In 2011, he began to teach at USLA, in addition to his occupation in Tomtom suites. In 2012, he left Tomtom suites to open the Gile Restaurant. He was awarded GQ “Men of The Year” in the best Chef Category in 2013 and Gecce.com’s “Chief of the Year” in 2014. He opened Tabla Alaçatı in 2015, followed by Tabla Nuteras in 2016. In 2016, he resigned from his position as Director Chef of USLA, which he had been in for three years. During that period, he provided service to many famous restaurants of Istanbul with Let’s danışmanlık (consultancy), which he established with Cihan Kıpçak. In October 2017, they opened a restaurant called Zula Istanbul, which is based on street food. He’s preparing to bring an Eclectic approach to the classic bistro theme with ”Bâtard” in Bomonti, which will be opened in late October.