Çırağan announces new contest

Çırağan announces new contest

Çırağan Palace Kempinski has added a new and different annual competition to Istanbul life by launching the Çırağan Amateur Meze Competition. Three outstanding Istanbul women whose names were announced last week topped the winning list, and their mezes will be on Laledan Restaurant’s menu starting in 2012.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski General Manager Ralph Radtke told the Hürriyet Daily News the competition was organized to draw attention to the new fish and meze menu that has been available at Laledan Restaurant since fall.

“This will be an annual competition... All kinds of cold appetizers with their recipes and their stories of creation were submitted through the website specially created for this competition. There was heavy interest and finally, with the careful pick of the kitchen team, 48 finalists were selected. And after very serious debate we picked the first three winners,” he said.

Asked what made the winners stand out, Radtke said: “We had a few criteria: simplicity, taste, creativity, choice of ingredients and authenticity … A simple recipe can be very tasteful, and we looked to see while tasting, apart from a good taste, if we could understand the ingredients inside, if we could figure out what we were eating.”

Radtke said they had a hard time choosing the winners. “We knew we would from the beginning, and this is one of the reasons why we asked a professional to join the jury and support us with his valuable experience throughout the whole event, Osman Serim Bey, who is a gourmet and a food and beverage consultant,” Radtke said.

“All the merit goes to people who applied and took part at the competition with their wonderful mezes … Everybody did a fantastic job; we are grateful to everyone who took the time and the effort to participate. This shows that [since most of the participants were women] Turkish women have great creativity, and they continue to enliven the Turkish tradition of mezes with new and creative recipes. We already look forward to next year’s competition,” he said.

The top winner of this year’s competition was Ayşe Gengönül with her “Seafood Dolma.” Second place went to Gökçe Karadeniz with “Walnut Squash with Yogurt,” and third was Sibel Taşkın with “Hibes.” Their creations will be on the Laledan menu next year.