Tolga Bozok

Tolga BozokLet’s start by getting to know you, what is your education and experience?

Hello, I’m Tolga Bozok, the executive chef of Fenz Istanbul. I continued my career, which I professionalized through MSA, by setting up and working as a chef in several leading Fine Dining restaurants in Istanbul. In addition, in recent times, I have been involved in various events and consultancy projects both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, for the past three years, I have been working as a chef instructor at a private university.

Can you tell us about how you first encountered the kitchen and chose this path?

I started my journey in cafe kitchens at a young age, and I consider breaking out of my shell as the turning point. Kitchens I was in began to feel limiting after a while, and the desire to achieve more and do much greater things became the cornerstone of the story you see here today.

Can you share a memorable moment you experienced in the kitchen that you will never forget?

Certainly, everything we experience is valuable, but the experiences I gained from working with talented chefs who illuminated my path during this long journey are unforgettable moments. However, I also have a memorable moment that influenced my career outside the kitchen. Winning the first place in a long-running competition with renowned chefs serving as judges on a national channel was an unforgettable achievement.

How did you create the menus for Fenz, and can you tell us about the menu?

When creating the menu for Fenz Istanbul, we drew inspiration from Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. Our F&B manager also led the work, and this is how Fenz Istanbul’s current Mediterranean-Asian concept was created. We crafted the menu by interpreting the traditional flavors of the Mediterranean in collaboration with Asian niche products.

What are the key features of the specials you prepare for us?

I can describe it like this: our specials may initially appear to be the familiar flavors of Mediterranean cuisine, but with every bite, they evoke a unique sensation that transports you to various corners of Asia. This is the most important characteristic of our specials.

While everything is delicious and special, which dish or dishes from your menu are your favorites?

Definitely, Wild Mushrooms & Lamb Sweetbreads.

What does it mean to be a good chef for you? How would you define yourself in this sense?

Being a good chef is not just about making good food. First and foremost, it involves treating the kitchens you are in as if they were your own business, having good discipline, building and managing long-term teams, being able to convey the story of each dish you create to the guests, knowing the products you choose and using the right techniques, and maintaining consistency. The kitchen is a team effort, and I attribute my success to my team, but I also believe that being able to keep this team together is my personal achievement.

Are there chefs you watch and follow?

Of course, there are very valuable chefs I take inspiration from and occasionally seek advice from. Some of the names include Tongar Fırat, Ali Ronay, and Arda Türkmen.

What is your life like outside the kitchen when you have free time?

In my personal life, sports are essential for me. Additionally, food, exploring new restaurants, chef conversations, and international travel are all part of my life.

In your opinion, what is the secret to good food?

Certainly, the secret to good food is proper technique, respect for the ingredients and the producers we work with.