FROM BEING AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER TO BECOMING A CHEF

CHEF OF AIDA-VINO E CUCINA KEREM UZTÜRK MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BY COMBINING FLAVORS OF DIFFERENT CULTURES AND NEW RECIPES.

You must taste the dishes such as orange duck confit, honey-goat cheese tempura, ceviche with ‘leche de tigre’, steak tartar, and homemade Bolognese lasagna of Aida-Vino E Cucina.

Chef of Aida-Vino E Cucina that serves in Moda, Istanbul, Kerem Uztürk is one of the lucky names who has aimed for the food sector after listening to his heart, despite his industrial design degree, and found the passion in his career for which he was looking. We talked about his adventure as a chef from Peru to Greece and İstanbul and his signature dishes at Aida-Vino E Cucina that has an Italian style menu with Uztürk who studied French Cuisine, pastry, bakery, and molecular gastronomy at Le Cordon Bleu in London and graduated with a degree.

He chased his dreams
Kerem Uztürk, who is now 30, started over a new career and proved that he was not late for anything. Uztürk, who graduated from the industrial design department of the Politecnicodi Milano University in Italy after completing Istanbul Italian High School, worked in design offices for a while. Kerem Uztürk, who said that his interest in food preparing started at an early age and that his passion was engrained in him by his family, says, “Apart from my professional career, I devoted a considerable part of my time to food research and to finding new recipes. Over time, I began to get more and more interested in the ‘Food Design’ sector, where design and food cultures are combined in time, and I decided to take this training. I thought working in a professional kitchen would be a great contribution to myself. Therefore, I started to work in a restaurant kitchen. For me, it was the entrance that I have been waiting for. The design profession is almost entirely carried out on the computer. The moment I realized that I did not want to work at a desk, the idea of becoming a professional chef became clear. I started researching the culinary education institutions around the world and decided on Le Cordon Bleu London. Here I have graduated with a degree in classical French Cuisine, bakery, pastry, and molecular gastronomy.”

An international feast with the Italian concept
Kerem Uztürk, who had great pleasure in combining the flavors of different cultures with new recipes and making experiments, mentions that he is assertive at Turkish, Italian, French and Latin American cuisine. Uztürk, who worked in the Flamingo Restaurant in Istanbul, in Lima, Peru with Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who is one of the best in South America, in Restaurante Malabar where they used materials from the Amazons, and in Pantelis Restaurant in Simi Island of Greece. Uztürk now works as the chef of Aida-Vino E Cucina that serves in Moda, Istanbul for the last four months. Uztürk said that they have an Italian style menu more than an Italian Cuisine menu. He says, “Everything on the menu does not belong to the Italian Cuisine. There are also delicacies from different cuisines. But we aim to be able to take orders as starter, primo, secondo and closing and to offer this kind of dining experience. The venue, which has been serving since July 2015, offers an international feast in its Italian concept to its target mass. Everything comes from different origins, such as orange duck confit, honey-goat cheese tempura, ‘leche de tigre’ ceviche, steak tartar and homemade lasagna with classic bolognese. With these special tastes we quickly adapt to the different demands of our target group.”

His biggest dream is to open his own place
Expressing that a team of 8 people working alternately in the kitchen, Kerem Uztürk explains how one day goes: “Our kitchen, which opens its doors at 9 in the morning, starts the day with a general cleaning. Then bread and pasta dough is prepared daily. Preparations for the day are made. The final preparations are meticulously carried out with the participation of the remaining team after lunch. Our restaurant, which starts the service at 6pm, begins to slow down at 11pm. Since our kitchen has a compact area, we can utilize every surface that is open to use with practical solutions in order to obtain maximum efficiency and it provides great convenience at the time of service. As it happens in every kitchen, we too overcome the stressful moments through calmness and the right communication.”

According to Uztürk, the most beautiful aspect of his profession is that it is both convertible and it can be performed without the effects of the language barrier in every part of the world. Uztürk thinks that experiencing the pleasure and feedback of those who taste his dishes much faster compared to the other professions is an important privilege. The biggest dream of Uztürk, who has worked as a chef in different countries until now, is to meet different cultures and diversify his experiences and one day to open his own place by combining all those experiences.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO RECIPE BY CHEF KEREM UZTÜRK
Ingredients: 1 small onion, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tbsp finely sliced parsley, 320 grams of Italian Arborio rice, 400 grams of variety of mushrooms, 1 lt hot chicken stock, 60 grams of butter, 50 grams of grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Directions: After cleaning the mushrooms well, chop them at the desired size and sauté with olive oil. Cut the dried onion and garlic into cubes in a separate place and brown them with the olive oil in a pan. Add rice and boil for 1-2 minutes. Bring the pan over medium heat and add 1 scoop of hot chicken stock. Mix with a wooden spoon during cooking. Continue to add the stock by scoops as the juice becomes reduced and add salt. Add sautéed mushrooms into this mixture. Let the rice become al dente. Add the chopped parsley. Take the pan from the heat and add butter and grated parmesan. The rice grains must stick to each other and have a slightly puffy consistency because of the melting parmesan cheese. Get Risotto on to a flat serving plate. Serve it with parsley, black pepper, parmesan and olive oil. Enjoy.