THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN HATAY CUISINE MEET AT FARFARA

FARFARA’S CHEF OSMAN BAHADIR OFFERS A DELICOUS FEAST WITH HIS SPECIALS PREPARED WITH LOCAL INGREDIENTS THAT CAME FROM ISKENDERUN AND ANTAKYA.

Osman Bahadır, who has 17 years of experience in the food sector, chose to change the path of his career after studying management at Başkent University. He received culinary arts training to become a chef at The Culinary Institute of America in New York. Bahadır, who had worked as a chef at CafeMiz, Ankara Hilton, Turkish Kitchen, Tabla, and Four Seasons Bosphorus, gained teaching experience at the Kitchen Arts Academy, USLA, and Özyeğin University. He also served as the Marketing Chef and R&D Chef at Unilever Turkey. Osman Bahadır who believed that it was the right time to open his own place, met with flavor fans two months ago at Farfara in Gayrettepe, Istanbul where now he presents specialties of the Hatay cuisine with his big sister and business partner Beril Özen.

He doesn’t give up local flavors
You cannot have enough of the specials made by Osman Bahadır, who is originally from Iskenderun. Farfara means ‘one who is quick, lively, and chatty.’ Osman Bahadır’s big sister Beril Özen named the place. Bahadır who has become an expert of Turkish and Indian cuisine is assertive when it comes to the Hatay cuisine. Bahadır who orders all of his spices, pomegranate syrup, olive oil, bulgur, and zahter from Iskenderun and Antakya shows care for the ingredients he uses in his dishes to be regional and fresh. Bahadır who thinks that local ingredients add a different flavor to his specials makes his own tomato paste for his dishes. It is delicious enough on its own when spread on toast. We asked Osman Bahadır what kind of flavor combinations he uses to progress: “We try to present the local tastes and ingredients without interfering with their originality at Farfara. I think that this approach will make a difference in the long term. In the kitchen, there is my teammate Seval Çetin and I. We clean the dishes and we prepare the food ourselves. My big sister Beril Özen interacts with the customers.”

He gets up early
Osman Bahadır who gets up at 06.30 every morning summarizes his daily routine: “When I get up in the morning I give myself 30 minutes to make the day’s work plan while drinking coffee and listening to music. Then I visit the bakery and the butcher. I take care of fruits and vegetables in an hour and then head to Farfara. After my teammate Seval and I drink our Turkish coffee, we immediately start cooking. The noon service begins at 12.00, then we close at 17.00.”

Osman Bahadır who does not skip to give important tips to the people who want to have a career in this sector says, “You really have to work hard for this job. If you want to become a chef and make it your career, then you must be fast, discreet, analytical, and aesthetic. You have to work at least 5 years, 6 days of the week for 12 hours.” Bahadır who underlines the fact that you must always work in a clean and organized kitchen says that he thinks about nothing but cooking while cooking which allows him to work in peace.

Famous with his Hummus and ‘muhammara burger’
Bahadır who mentions that keeping the quality of Farfara as same as its first day is very important to him says that his most popular specials are humus served with homemade French fries, stuffed grape leaves with meat and pomegranate syrup, stuffed meatballs, kaytaz pastry, bread with sides, and his soups prepared with special broths.

He takes pictures of food aswell
Osman Bahadır who is a very talented chef is also a food photographer. He explains us how this hobby began: “My photography enthusiasm began when my father got me a semi-pro camera years ago on the same date La Boqueria market opened in Barcelona, the biggest and the best in Europe. One really wants to wait for the best light and take the best pictures of all products. I think that every product there is a work of art…  I displayed my first photo-collage exhibition with 30 pieces at Bonart Gallery. I tried to relate everything to food. Because food is everything! I said ‘If cuisine is an art, are we sated with art’ and then turned my hobby into reality.”

HATAY STYLE TABOULEH FROM OSMAN BAHADIR
Ingredients: 1 medium diced tomatoes, 200 grams fine bulgur, 50 grams of tomato paste, 30 grams of red pepper paste, half a bunch of fresh mint and parsley, 5 stalks of finely chopped green onions, 150 ml of pomegranate syrup, 300 ml of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cumin.
Directions: Mix the Bulgur with the diced tomatoes. Let it wait in a container with a lid at room temperature for at least 45 minutes. After the bulgur expands, add the other ingredients in order. Harmonize all the ingredients for about 10 minutes then knead them until the onions are crushed totally. Serve them by decorating with mint and parsley leaves. Bon appetite!