Turkey is rich for sustainable gastronomy tourism: Culinary expert
“To make the most of this potential, we should make the preservation of the local gastronomic heritage our focus,” Zeynep Kakınç, chair of the Istanbul-based Gastronomic Society of Turkey, told Anadolu Agency.
“It is essential to preserve authenticity both in product production and in transferring local dishes to the future,” she said.
Kakınç’s remarks came as June 18 marks Sustainable Gastronomy Day. Called by many as “the art of food,” gastronomy can also “refer to a style of cooking from a particular region as well as local food and cuisine,” according to the U.N.
“Sustainable gastronomy, therefore, means cuisine that takes into account where the ingredients are from, how the food is grown and how it gets to our markets and eventually to our plates,” the U.N says.
According to Kakınç, sustainable gastronomy also draws attention to the importance of people consuming local foods.
“It is extremely necessary for us to pay attention to the seasonality principle and to prefer local products to increase the production potential of local producers and to continue their existence,” she said.
The expert also stressed the importance of a national awareness campaign on the contribution of sustainable gastronomy to regional and rural development, adding: “In fact, this is a process in which all dynamics are important, from public authorities to farmers, chefs, tourism professionals, and non-governmental organizations.”
According to Kakınç, in international promotional activities, communication messages based on sustainable gastronomy should be determined and brought together with the global public through the right channels.
Deep culinary culture
Highlighting the importance of Turkish cities such as Hatay, Gaziantep and Afyon that are recognized by UNESCO as Creative Cities of Gastronomy, Kakınç said that these cities have earned this title by using the resources they have in the most accurate way.
“In fact, many cities of our country have a deep culinary culture and an enormous product richness,” she said.
According to Kakınç, these cities have some obligations that come with participating in the UNESCO creative cities network. “The foremost of these is to preserve the local culinary culture.”
“In addition, increasing the gastronomic potential of the city further, increasing the number of events and the participation of local people in those events, and improving cooperation with other cities belonging to the network in international organizations are the activities that cities have to implement, as specified by UNESCO,” she added.
“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development,” the agency says on its website.
“The 246 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.”
Gastronomic Society of Turkey was founded in 2008 and according to its website, the main objectives of the society “are to reveal and develop our richness of cuisine and beverages and food presentation manners through scientific research to promote our cuisine both here in Turkey and also abroad.”