STAGE-STRUCK BEFORE BECOMING AN EXECUTIVE CHEF

EXECUTIVE CHEF OF L’ASSIETTE AYVAZ AKBACAK HAS HIS TARGET MASS EXPERIENCE SOMETHING SPECIAL BY MODERNIZING DIFFERENT FLAVORS.

Coming to İstanbul stage-struck but performing in a much different sector, executive chef of L’assiette Ayvaz Akbacak becomes to prominence with his cook books, awards that he won at cooking contests, TV shows, and seminars for the young people who have been targeting a career in the dining sector. Akbacak who modernizes different flavors at L’assiette promises a different type of experience to his guests, both Turkish and foreign.

He is focusing on being the best in his profession
L’assiette, which was opened within the Les Ottomans Hotel of the Ekler Group, has become one of the most popular places of the dining life thanks to its location with a great view of the Bosphorus and its delicious dishes. Executive Chef of L’assiette Ayvaz Akbacak is originally from Tokat, who came to Istanbul to become an actor. He says, “As a person who used to pick out the onion from the stews, I had made a smooth transfer to the dining sector. I first began working at a small local restaurant. The dining sector was not that popular then. My dream was to become an actor on the big screen. I got registered with a casting agency. I was working as a cook on the other hand. My chefs who realized that I was a quick learner in the kitchen advised me not to quit and continue working in this area because I was good at it. In time, my dream of becoming an actor was pushed aside. I made my mind up to become the best in this profession. I was following the footprints of the foreign chefs in Turkey. I have kept in touch with them and I have worked with them. I have worked at many hotel kitchens and restaurants in İstanbul. I was responsible from the kitchen in the army. After I was back, I began to making both kitchen and TV shows because of my passion for the screen.” Ayvaz Akbacak published two cook books in the health food concept, after meeting with Dr. Ender Saraç in 2007 and beginning to work in this field.

He observes the specialties of different cuisines
Ayvaz Akbacak, who had won the second and the third places in his category in the IKA Olympics where the best chefs of the world compete, says, “I worked as a trainer in many kitchens because I value education. I organize voluntary conferences and seminars at the gastronomy departments in Turkey to pass on the beautiful aspects of this profession to our future chefs. My profession is not only on one department or on one certain cuisine. I focus on cooking delicious specialties using the correct techniques. I travel to different countries. During my travels, I first observe their cuisine and their products that seem different to me. I favor to present every country’s cuisine and dining culture in the correct way. I worked at many popular and elite places of İstanbul. I worked as an executive at many hotels and restaurants. L’assiette is still new. We have modernized the dishes that we would like to see on our tables and at the restaurants we go and that reflect our mother culture. There is only one rule in my kitchen. The service must be in the same quality for both a king and a standard customer. If the quality is not equal, that would be the one thing to make me angry. Discipline is important. Kitchen is an important place. I always call it the operating room. Everything during a service is momentary. We do not know who is eating the food, maybe an author or a gourmet or a very important person.”

Modernizes the dishes
Ayvaz Akbacak who has a different vision in modernizing the tastes explains: “We have made different additions to our menu; however, we did not spoil the taste. If I am to give an example, everyone likes kokorec. We present kokorec with the Italian inspirations and the Turkish flavors. We have created a menu that would appeal to both Turkish and foreign guests, with magnificent dishes such as kokorec bruschetta and lentil balls ngiri. All items in the menu are so special and delicious. Our specialties that strike our customers the most are potato braided sea bass, baklava sea bass, lakerda show and carnival shish. We revise our menus for summer and winter. Since we are still new, our customers’ likes and comments tell us how we should work on our menu. We are working with a valuable team of 12 who knows this profession and had received education in this sector. I usually come around noon. We are busy during the dinner service. I control all preparations, sauce making, and preliminary work for the dishes. I direct the team mates that serve, regarding on how to serve what and the presentation of the new items. Finally, I walk from table to table to learn the opinions and recommendations of our customers.”

POTATO BRAIDED SEA BASS RECIPE BY EXECUTIVE CHEF OF L’ASSIETTE AYVAZ AKBACAK
Ingredients: 1 fillet of sea bass, 300 grams of spinach, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 red peppers, 2 tbsp of cream, 50 grams of cheese, 2 potatoes for deep frying, 6 mushrooms.
Directions: After cleaning the fillet, slice the potatoes as in the shape of strings using a special potato slicer. Place the fillet onto the potato strings and roll it into a wrap then deep fry. Cut it like you cut sushi. In a separate pot, sauté the sliced onions with butter. After adding the peppers and mushrooms, add the spinach. In the final stage, add the cream and the cheese into the mixture. When it reaches to a nice consistency, spread this sauce onto the service plate. Add the fish on it and serve. Enjoy.