TV series increases interest in dishes served at Ottoman

TV series increases interest in dishes served at Ottoman

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
TV series increases interest in dishes served at Ottoman

Hürriyet Photo

The popular Turkish television series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century), which is set during the Ottoman era, has raised an interest in Ottoman era cuisine, according to Ottoman food expert Tenzile Telli, who teaches a course on Turkish-Ottoman dishes through the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Art and Vocational Training Courses (İSMEK). “The day after the TV series is aired the trainees ask me about what they saw on television,” she said.

Telli has been giving courses on Turkish-Ottoman dishes for 10 years at İSMEK, which provides attendees free skills training in various branches. According to Telli the culture of home-made food has all but disappeared as even restaurants serving home-made dishes are no longer in existence.

Home-made foods

Home-made foods are very important for a health society, said Telli, whose aim is to promote the rich cuisine of the Turkish-Ottoman culture over the current the fast-food culture popular now.

Telli said her studies on Ottoman documents relating to Ottoman cuisine have shown her that the cuisine culture was richer that it was originally thought. “There are many improved and undiscovered areas especially in the palace cuisine. The number of dishes used in palace cuisine increased thanks to conquests. Dishes were prepared with a limited number of ingredients at the time of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, but cuisine culture became richer as the [Ottoman] land broadened,” Telli said.

Telli said that despite this rich cuisine culture European cuisine began to become more popular, especially after the 19th century. “Actually, most of the dishes in our culture went to Europe and came back to us with a different name. I call them ‘Turkish dishes that traveled to Europe.’ For example, the real name of ‘béchamel sauce’ is ‘roux,’ ‘crepe’ is ‘akıtma’ in our own culture. There are many dishes like them,” she said.

For five days a week Telli gave 290-hour courses to groups of 25 on Turkish, Seljuk and Ottoman cuisine of the 15 to 19th centuries at İSMEK, adding that she preferred to teach dishes which appealed to current taste.


The number of attendees of the municipality’s courses
on Turkish-Ottoman cuisine has increased thanks to
the TV series ‘Magnificent Century,’ according to
Tenzile Telli. She says women want to cook Ottoman
dishes for their husband. AA photo

Interest in Ottoman cuisine

Attendees of her courses come from almost all age groups and included mostly housewives, newly married women or cooking enthusiasts. After the TV series featuring life at the time of the Ottoman Empire aired, the number of attendees who want to learn about Ottoman cuisine increased, said Telli.

“On the day after the TV series [Muhteşem Yüzyıl – Magnificent Century] is aired, the attendees asked me about what they saw. They cook the dishes that they see on TV for their husbands. I observe that our women like the Ottoman dishes as they learn to cook them. Some women say ‘I will cook this dish for my Süleyman, the leading character in the TV series,” she said.

Telli said that sherbets also became popular thanks to the Ottoman TV series. “I teach Ottoman
sherbets in the course. I see different dishes in the series but there are many mistakes in the presentation and ingredients of these dishes in the series. They should have asked an expert about the dishes.”

She said that the Ottoman dishes were not too heavy in fact and it should be shown to society, adding that she taught 40 types of Ottoman dishes in the course. “Women’s increasing role in business life has become a factor for the disappearance of Ottoman cuisine culture,” she added.

Telli said that she also gives courses on Ottoman dishes for tourists at a hotel. “American, Russian and British tourists especially show interest in these courses,” she said.