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Cooking is an act of love!

We believe that cooking is an act of love for people and the planet, because transferring our positive and creative energy into a dish and sharing it with others is also offering it as a gift. And it’s the greatest gift one can receive.

As the Hybrid Community team, we will contribute to Magnet Quarterly as of this issue with our experiences in the gastronomy industry, as we strongly believe in its uniting power; our contents will be inspired by trend reports, and the newest developments. In this issue focusing on love, we visited someone who works with love in the kitchen. The Anatolian- inspired chef strives to give back to nature and is presenting his love of cooking as a gift to Istanbul with his dishes at Neolokal, Maksut Aşkar answered our questions.

How would you solve the “love x gastronomy” equation?

There’s only one equation on the subject - do you live to eat, or eat to live? Throughout our lives, we eat at least two meals a day. I think the common denominator for people who are passionate about gastronomy is expanding the limited time we spend on ourselves, and rendering the actual action of eating more delightful. This is how I define the love of cooking.

What’s your interpretation of the transformation in gastronomy?

Everything in life is in constant transformation, which is brought along by needs. Transformation itself becomes a need. Naturally, also gastronomy is one of the areas influenced by today’s need for transformation. We push the limits of the sensation of taste by putting it in interaction with other senses, and we do this every day by transforming it in different experiences. Since the purpose is to maximize the satisfaction gained from this, I think these types of transformations play a crucial part in what we need.

Can you tell us a dish you make with love?

I guess I make every dish with love. The satisfaction I get from each dish is slightly different. For instance, one of the things that excite me the most is what I experience in the kitchen when I’m looking for new ways to present a recipe or an ingredient that is about to be forgotten to the guests at Neolokal.

What ingredients do you think are in love or suit each other the best?

You create that love in the kitchen, and I think it varies from person to person. When you offer the same dish to three different people, their reaction varies depending on their sense of taste, expectations, memories of childhood, and what they’re bringing to the table. My reality may not conform to yours. I’m happier with little loves, like the one between honey and Kars gruyere.

Which country are you running after, following your love of cooking?

Anatolia. I’m actually limiting myself with this answer. The borders of this land. However, even these borders offer an endless ocean. This is exactly what feeds me. I believe that I’m nurtured by what participates in my love of cooking.

What would you like to say about the future of gastronomy?

I always say that our traditions are the future. We say that everything comes from the earth, so we need to be as respectful towards earth as per the traditions and maybe even more. I think the more the young talents of this land fall in love with traditions, the faster Anatolian cuisine will reach the place it deserves in the global scene.


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