The aim of Topik is to present ‘food without borders’, creating a space to explore and taste the foods of many different minority cultures as well as more well known Turkish dishes.
The name ‘Topik’ comes from an Istanbul Armenian meze dish, traditionally eaten at Easter, Christmas and on New Year’s eve. Unlike other mezes, Topik takes a long time to prepare, so it is rarely found in the meze and Raki taverns (called Meyhane) and lokantas (restaurants) of Istanbul, instead it is normally served at family gatherings. Even though I was born and raised in Turkey, it was not until I was 22, as a guest at my Armenian friend’s Easter meal, that I came across the meze dish ‘Topik’. I subsequently realised that there is a hidden world of foods, from various minorities living in Istanbul and modern day Turkey, which originate from the old, multi-cultural Anatolia and Istanbul. As ‘Topik’ was my own personal doorway to the forgotten and displaced foods of Turkey, I thought it apt to name my project after it, hopefully opening this same doorway to others. *photo by Sebnem Ugural
Who is in the kitchen?
Irem is here – as a founder, chef and researcher at Topik London.
I am a former news reporter, and currently work as a chef. I have worked with talented chefs to be trained including my inspiring work experience at Ottolenghi Spitalfields since I went into my cooking journey. I am now with e5 bakehouse team – an East London artisan bakery.
With my Topik – Food Without Borders project I do supper-club series as well as pop-up events in collaboration with the NGOs working in the field of human rights and refugee organisations on joint projects and dining events.