Food + Wine

Global Culinary School

by Robin Cherry

Taste Turkey with Engin Akin

Where: Ula, in southwest Turkey

The food: Recipes from the Ottoman Empire

Back home you'll be whipping up: Circassian chicken, poached with a peppery, pureed walnut sauce

The dish: Engin Akin has both been called Turkey's Julia Child and Martha Stewart. The 60-something Turkish native welcomes students to her family's farmhouse in a traditional village ten miles from the Aegean, about an hour and a half east of the seaside town of Bodrum. Here she teaches students the finer points of Turkish cuisine, using both modern appliances and a traditional hearth for baking boreks (pastries) and grilling onions and eggplant. Akin's specialties include pilafs, with rice or bulgur, and dolmas, grape leaves wrapped around rice perfumed with sweet spices and mint. You'll sit on the floor to help roll and cut mantý, raviolilike pastries stuffed with meat and drizzled with butter and garlic yogurt. While many of the ingredients used in Turkish cuisine are common, it's the way they're assembled that's unusual: Take, for instance, ashura, a dessert that's a quirky jumble of grains, beans, dried fruits, and nuts. On one excursion, the group prepares mezzes while cruising the turquoise coast of Akkaya on a gulet, a traditional Turkish sailboat. Akin brings along anything that catches her eye—usually black-eyed peas, yogurt, grilled eggplant, and tomato—and the class helps throw them together for a fresh, spontaneous picnic.

Accommodations: Live like a sultan in guest rooms at Akin's house in the village. They're decorated with Ottoman textiles and antique and contemporary furniture.

When: May–September, or by appointment

Taste Turkey with Engin Akin
Tel: 90 532 241 7163
$1,600 per person for four days, including lodging, classes, and excursion. Max class size: 10

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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