Over two years ago, I was first welcomed into Selin’s home. She lives in an old apartment in the heart of Nisantasi. Her home contains beautiful Turkish ceramics, art and my personal favorite: glorious bookshelves full of cookbooks. She is simultaneously your guide, host, mother, teacher and friend. Her background lies in Tourism, however her company was founded because of her love of food. She hosts cooking lessons in her home and leads market tours through Kadikoy. In the four hours you spend with her, you learn where to find the best products in Istanbul and Turkey, and how to make numerous Turkish dishes you can only find in the warmth of a Turkish home.
With numerous out-of-town guests for my wedding, I arranged a day of cooking with Selin. We gathered in her home at 9:30 and sipped fresh cherry juice as we learned about her family, her favorite restaurants and the best Turkish cookbooks on the market. We moved into her kitchen to discuss the menu of the day and quickly got to work. As we chopped tomatoes, and learned how to properly smoke eggplant, we were offered special olives from Southern Turkey, a sample of pomegranate molasses and 5 different types of Turkish cheeses. Selin creates the menu based on your interests and requests. In my particular group, she was able to accommodate vegetarians and vegans, as well as eggplant enthusiasts. We prepared borek, green olive salad with pomegranate sauce, smoked eggplant mezes, green pepper dolmas, a baked beef stew, wine infused figs with kaymak and a few other treats along the way.
After 2 1/2 hours of cooking, you sit down to enjoy the fruit of your labor at a beautifully set table in the heart of her apartment. You sip on wine, share your stories and Selin answers your questions. After a lovely feast, you are sent home with leftovers. It is the perfect activity for any foodie looking to experience a slice of Turkish home life and cuisine!