Sara’s Weeknight Meals: Season 3

Episode 310: Turkish Home Cooking – Cooking on the Farm with Hande Bozdogan

I had never been to Turkey before this episode and what a shame I waited so long! Istanbul is quite beautiful; everywhere you look you see mosques and minarets. The city is surrounded by water with the Sea of Marmara to the south, the Bosphorous running through the middle of the city and the Black sea to the north. It is a fascinating mix of the old and the new, straddling the continents of both Europe and Asia.

And for the foodie, this is paradise. I have never seen such markets, filled with pristine produce, dried fruits, nuts, pickles, olives, charcuterie, cheeses and above all spices. In this episode I visit several markets with an extremely knowledgable food and cultural historian, Aylin Oney Tan. Then I take a trip to the west of Turkey to the Aegean to visit Hande Bozdogan who runs a farm, right on the water, to supply produce for her cooking school in Istanbul. We make pumpkin fritters, quince liqueur and simit (cracked wheat) and lamb kebabs.

Finally I visit one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul, Kuzguncuk, to cook with Refika Birgul, a Turkish chef with her own tv show. We buy fresh bluefish from a fisherman off the dock and dough from a local bakery and then head back to her studio to prepare marinated bluefish, walnut poppyseed bread and a sauteed beef dish with tomato sauce and thyme yoghurt.

Where does the show air in your neck of the woods?
Click here to find out!

TV Listing

Meet Hande Bozdoğan


Hande and me grilling

Hande Bozdoğan is the founding director of the Istanbul Culinary Institute (ICI). Born in Ankara, Turkey and holding an BA degree in Economics from Bosporus University in Istanbul and an MS in Travel and Tourism Management from the New School in New York City, she has developed her career in the culinary industry since the early 1990s. She holds certificates in cooking and baking from the Bath School of Cookery in the UK and The Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY, as well as a chef diploma from The French Culinary Institute in New York City where she completed the professional program with distinction in 2001.

Having lived in Istanbul, London and New York City and having traveled extensively across the globe, Hande Bozdoğan has developed a keen interest in the culinary cultures of the world, to complement her formative passion for the familiar tastes, traditional dishes and family recipes of Turkish cooking at home. After running her own café in Istanbul for three years, she embarked on an ambitious project culminating in the opening of The Istanbul Culinary Institute in 2007, now a favorite spot for Istanbul’s food enthusiasts. Committed to the research, promotion and advancement of Turkish and Eastern Mediterranean cuisines, ICI offers a professional certificate program as well as amateur cooking classes and serves the public with its training restaurant, gourmet food store and a rich calendar of culinary events.

In addition to her full-time obligations with the day-to-day operations of the ICI, Hande Bozdoğan is the author of an award-winning book on the street foods of Turkey, Flavors of the Street: Turkey (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2004) and appears frequently on various culinary programs in both the domestic and international media.

Along with her co-author Lâle Apa, Hande Bozdoğan’s cookbook Istanbul Contemporary Cuisine – Istanbul Cuisine Contemporaine was awarded the “Special Award of the Jury” at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards on February 11, 2010 held in Paris, France.


The view from Hande’s deck. That is the Aegean in the distance.

She lives and works in Istanbul and during the summer months, divides her time between Istanbul and her farm in Saros in the Northern Aegean where most of the ICI’s fresh produce, fruits and herbs are grown naturally and where, by her own account, making jams, sauces or pickles offers her a most pleasurable break from the busy life of the city.

Istanbul Culinary Institute
The Istanbul Culinary Institute is a professional training and production center, established in 2008 with the aim of researching, teaching and promoting Turkish cuisine at home and abroad. The mission of Istanbul Culinary Institute is to present Turkish cooking with a contemporary face. On premises, the institute has a school of culinary arts, a training restaurant (Enstitü), coffee and wine bars and a gourmet food store featuring the products of the Institute. It also hosts seminars, occasional public events (films, lectures and exhibitions) related to the culinary cultures of Turkey. www.istanbulculinary.com

Saros Farm
Commited to its philosophy of “seasonal eating”, Istanbul Culinary Institute largely relies on seasonal produce in the design of its menus. We believe that consuming a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables over the course of the year is the key to healthy lifestyles. The cooling effect of cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon in the summer or the energy to be derived from winter vegetables like cabbage and spinach are illustrative examples.

With our committment to local and seasonal produce, one of the foundational ideas of the Saros project is to avoid non-seasonal items imported from distant regions and climates.

The variety of fruits and vegetables grown in the Saros farm also represents the key ingredients of the menu items that are typically served to the customers of the Enstitu Restaurant. Tomatoes, salad greens, purslane, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, leeks, okra and artichokes, as well as herbs like oregano, thyme, basil, mint and sage are grown in the produce gardens. The orchards yield apples, pears, peaches, sour cherries, pomegranates, quince, figs, walnuts, mulberries and almonds, as well as melons and watermelons. These feed the training kitchens of the Institute on a regular basis, following an elaborate schedule of picking and transportation.


At Subaru we build vehicles like the versatile Outback, with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive standard and plenty of cargo room, letting you fit more into your week and get the most out of every day. Because some of the most adventurous days fall in between the weekends.

King Arthur Flour, founded in 1790, is the oldest flour company in the United States. Since its beginning, all-natural King Arthur Flour has been a staple in the kitchens of home and professional bakers across America, known for its purity and consistent performance in all kinds of baked goods. The 100% employee-owned company is the nation’s premier baking resource– with the finest flours still at the core of its business; and the best recipes, mixes, tools, and educational programs to help people make the most of their baking. The kingarthurflour.com website has over 2,000 tested recipes.

For more than half a century, Maple Leaf Farms has provided the luxurious taste of duck to culinary adventurers everywhere. From the farm to the table, producing safe, high-quality foods in a thoughtful and responsible manner has been at the forefront. Maple Leaf Farms has preserved the ideas it was founded upon: contribution to local communities, responsibility for the environment, respect for others and insistence on high quality. Today, this fourth generation, family-owned company leads the market with innovative, value-added duck products of superior quality. In short, Maple Leaf Farms provides products for your family that it’s happy to serve its own with the goal of transforming ordinary dishes into lasting memories with the versatile flavor of duck.

Instagram Feed


Stay tuned for exclusive recipes, tips and announcements.


Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn G+