About

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Irem Aksu​ is a London-based cOOK and researcher from Turkey. She founded her project Topik: food without borders in 2015 whilst completing her MA in Cultural and Critical Studies at Birkbeck University of London.

Irem has started running her seasonal dinner series based on Istanbul’s diverse cuisine at E5 Bakehouse, where she cooked with ethically and locally sourced produces and explored sourdough bread making principles over two years. Each menu she creates is inspired by the flavours of different cuisines, including Sephardic Jewish, Istanbul Rum (Greeks), Armenian, Circassian and more which perhaps unrecognised or hidden, make up Turkey’s modern-day culinary culture. Between 2018 – August, 2019 March, Irem was the chef-in-residence at October Gallery ‘s Restaurant in Bloomsbury, London. She also has been collaborating with Delfina Foundation for the foundation’s traditional “family lunch and dinner” series since the summer 2019.

Irem’s cooking also focuses on ideas of sustainability, old cooking and preserving techniques as well as a new era of diversity in food cultures in Istanbul and beyond.

Alongside running Topik London’s events, Irem carries on her daily professional kitchen routine in London-based restaurants as a chef and menu development consultant.

Open Kitchen: interdisciplinary food talks

Irem produces Open Kitchen radio show at Açık Radyo (Open Radio) which is considered as one of the rare independent institutions in the Turkish media scene.


Selected dinner series/exhibition/collaborations

COOKING CLASS AT LAS ALPUJARRAS, IN ANDALUSIA, SPAIN IN COLLABORATION WITH LAS CHIMENEAS,

July-August 2020


LUNCH + DINNER SERIES 2019, August-present at Delfina Foundation, London


TOPIK CHEF RESIDENCY AT OCTOBER GALLERY 2018, August-2019,March
Bloomsbury, London


Future Of Food Salon Series by ​Future Scales​ @Bernsteins Bar x Irem Aksu
2018, July
Bernstein’s Bar, London
Talk + dinner about how to build sustainable supply chains, and what the food industry can do to develop and support transparent and meaningful supply chains


Istanbul Urban Feast Series
2018, January / March / May
Simple, fresh, vibrant food of Istanbul urban culinary culture


7 Hills of Istanbul “Festive”
2017, November/two nights
E5 Bakehouse, London
Dishes on the menu are inspired by the festive tables of non-muslim communities in Istanbul


One Night In Za’atar & Secret Supper Club
2017, April & November
Vinyl Factory, Soho, London – Event in collaboration with OXFAM UK – Syrian inspired street food has common flavours of South Eastern Turkey


HOPS, SUCUK + EKMEK
2017, February
40ft Brewery, London
A street food performance paired with the first IPA brewed and named as Turkish word SEREFE – Cheers!


A POMEGRANATE ODYSSEY: FROM ISTANBUL TO YEREVAN
2016, October
E5 Bakehouse, London
Dinning experience for Londoners to explore the tangled bitter roots of two countries’ shared memories through food

photos by Sebnem Ugural


DIS/PLACED
2015, June
The Ditch, Shoreditch Town Hall, London
Private View – Featuring food project Topik by Irem Aksu, incorporating cultural and historical elements – food without borders