If you revel in gastro-travel, or perhaps you’re pondering how to make Ottoman and Turkish classics back home, then don an apron and broaden your culinary horizons at Cooking Alaturka in Sultanahmet.
This innovative cooking school, for groups of two to 10 people, will guide enthusiastic foodies through the process of preparing and cooking a five-course meal of Turkey’s favorites—some of which were once served from the kitchens of Topkapı Palace.
Classes are available for lunch and dinner with a choice of menus that are listed on the school's website. Prepare tasty starters like lentil soups or fresh mezes. Simmer classic dishes such as the İmam bayıldı (the priest loved it)—an eggplant bursting with flavors of onion, garlic, and tomato. Slow cook the hünkar beğendi—lamb presented on a bed of smoky eggplant puree, or bake künefe, a dessert made from white cheese, sugar syru,p and shredded pastry. The hard part is deciding which menu to choose. At the end of class, enjoy what you prepared and slowly devour the five courses with a glass of Turkish wine.
Cooking Alaturka is Istanbul’s first cooking school, started by Dutch expat and Cordon Bleu graduate Eveline Zoutendijk in 2002. Today, Eveline and a Turkish chef provide a cultural experience that's excellent value for money. Guest who aren’t into cooking are welcome to have dinner at the end of class. Bookings are essential.