Türkİye, Life

Turkish chefs showcase culinary delicacies in Tatarstan's capital

Traditional Turkish dishes, especially cig kofte, draw crowds as contestants from 14 countries vie for International Cup of Chefs

Sibel Morrow and Zeynep Beyza Kilic  | 27.05.2023 - Update : 27.05.2023
Turkish chefs showcase culinary delicacies in Tatarstan's capital

KAZAN, Tatarstan

Chefs from 14 countries demonstrated their skills in the International Cup of Chefs in Tatarstan's capital Kazan as part of the 14th International Economic Summit, titled "Russia-Islamic World: Kazan Forum 2023."

Meat, vegetarian, seafood, and poultry dishes were prepared in line with halal standards by skilled chefs from Türkiye, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Moldova, Russia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia.

A 35-member jury evaluated the dishes according to an array of different criteria. Tatarstan came in first, Algeria and Azerbaijan shared second place, while Türkiye, Uzbekistan and Iran came in third.

"Our aim is to introduce halal exhibitions and halal food to the rest of the world," Oner Culfaz, head of the All Chefs and Pastry Cooks Confederation (Taspakon) told Anadolu, the global communications partner of the Kazan Forum 2023.

"I am here to promote Turkish food and, of course, to learn from other chefs," said Metin Dincer, a restaurant owner in Istanbul who took part in the competition with his trademark bean stew.

- Turkish cig kofte draws international applause

The event was organized by Taspakon, which held another cookery competition in Istanbul last November.

"We expect to hold the same competition with the same concept in Uzbekistan, Germany and America as well. Our aim is to showcase Turkish cuisine along with dishes from other regions," Culfaz said.

Türkiye was represented at the event by 16 chefs who served an assortment of traditional dishes, including various stews, baklava with its flaky sweet goodness, and cig kofte, a spicy clump of bulgur, tomato paste, herbs, and sometimes raw minced meat squished in the palm and wrapped in lettuce for a delectable and fiery appetizer.

"Most people are familiar with Turkish kebab doner, but we wanted to highlight other traditional delicacies as well," Culfaz said.

The most popular Turkish dish at the event was cig kofte, which originally hails from southeastern cuisine in Türkiye, he added.

Products used in preparing the dishes had to be halal-certified, meaning they were prepared according to Islamic standards.

"We are pleased to see that halal food is being exported, which also presents a great trade opportunity for exporters and for those who are searching for halal food," Culfaz said.

- 'Quite original'

Turkish dishes drew praise at the event not just from local Tatar people, but also from visitors coming in from other regions and countries.

Kseniya Popoya, an international relations student at a university in Moscow, expressed her admiration for gozleme, a Turkish street snack made of flatbread with various fillings.

"Every time I go to Turkey, I must try gozleme. I highly recommend it," she said.

On cig kofte, which she said she "really liked," Popoya said she was trying it for the first time.

The experience was "quite original," she said.

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