Coskun Uysal is allergic to doing a half of-arsed process. As a youngster with a soccer ball, for instance, his ambition wasn’t to kick it round in the road: he wanted to move pro. “I didn’t just need to be someone who should play football,” he explains, hands folded throughout the marble tabletop. “If I did it, I to do it then fine I can.”
So it’s constant with his man or woman that when he settled on a career as a chef, he approached it with the tenacity of a cattle-canine on a hoof. “I always wanted to be a professional football player, until I turned into eighteen and I determined out I wasn’t going to be precise enough,” he recollects, without a touch of regret. “So I determined that I may be a chef – however, I want to be an excellent chef.”
And Uysal is certainly a good chef: in his first actual year strolling Tulum, his 35-seater eating place within the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava, he turned into met with glowing evaluations. Gourmet Traveller’s Michael Harden declared that the young chef “simply is familiar with the origins of the dishes, substances, and flavors that he’s remaking and reworking,” and both Gary Mehigan and Dan Stock named Uysal’s cilbir their dish of the yr.
Cilbir is Uysal’s food philosophy in microcosm. Firstly, it embodied all of the clean warm temperature of an Istanbul kitchen; smoked garlic yogurt and tender-poached eggs, served with an aspect of fluffy pide, it turned into the primary thing his mother could make for him when she got home from work. It turned into additionally on her apron strings that he began to research her craft. “In Turkey, the mothers have to work, and the fathers go to a coffee shop and feature a coffee all day. The moms go out and do their job all day to deliver the cash in,” he explains. “Because she’s constantly busy-busy, and I’m the youngest, I ignored her. But every time she’s home, I wanted to stick to her. So I become inside the kitchen.”
But secondly, cilbir is fantastic-smart. Comfort food can be, but Uysal’s dish is a ways from rustic. Marshaling the technique he discovered from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and the River Cafe in London, he elevates a homey dish into something both placing and delicious – adding crisp wafers of chook skin and varieties of burnt butter, one firm and crumbly and the alternative spiked with sumac.
Despite its success, you can’t strive cilbir at Tulum. “The next day, it became off my menu. I don’t need humans to be speaking approximately one dish,” says Uysal. “You get bored as a chef if you keep doing the same element. It makes you sense lazy.”
At this factor, it probably bears mention that’s Uysal’s idea of Turkish delicacies is miles outdoor the stereotype. If you’ve come awaiting dips, you’ll be sorely dissatisfied. “When humans ask where I’m from, I continually assume, ‘Oh my god, now not again,’” he complains mildly. “Because after I say I’m Turkish and a chef, they are saying, ‘We love kebabs!’”
There are no kebabs at Tulum. Uysal’s cuisine attracts rather from the recipes from throughout Turkey’s seven regions while keeping pace with the cutting-edge restaurants in both Istanbul and London. He considers it his assignment to train Australians about the range – and beauty – of cutting-edge Turkish delicacies. “It is hard, but u. S . Desires people like us to exit and say that at home, we don’t eat kebabs,” he says. “For the following ten years, I need to provide my message to people on this u. S .. This is my dream, and it’s come to be more than a commercial enterprise. It has become about telling memories of approximately Turkey. It’s emerging as my job to symbolize the humans in Turkey. I suppose with the plate, it represents my usa.”
It might sound contradictory, but Uysal reckons it’s less difficult to revolutionize Turkish meals in Melbourne than it might be in Istanbul. “In Turkey, specifically in Istanbul, there are most effective two or 3 Turks who are seeking to do what I’m doing right here. In Turkey, your mum is the only one who cooks at home. Whatever you do as a chef in Istanbul, they’ll always examine it with their mum. So you may’t win. You in no way win,” he explains. “But here, we use terrific elements from Melbourne and blend it with a few spices, after which we placed them on a plate imaginatively, and there’s continually a story behind why we do it.”
In his opinion, Australians’ receptiveness to messing about with culture stems from George Calombaris and the floor-breaking work he did at the Press Club (not to say the tv software that shall stay nameless). “Because of George Calombaris, what he did for Greek cuisine on this u. S ., because of him ten years ago, that’s why I love operating in these united states. He opened human beings’ minds,” he says. “Now I’m doing the identical things – but anyone is already open-minded.”