Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
- Tevkifhane Sokak No. 1, 34110 Sultanahmet-Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2008
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Sous-Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
- Swissotel The Istanbul; Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul; Kervansaray Hotel Uludağ, Bursa; Cappa Club Kadikale Hotel, Bodrum; Uludağ Grand Yazici Hotel
- Bolu, Turkey
- Culinary training in Istanbul
- Turkish, English
There was never much doubt Savaş Aydemir would become a chef. Born in Bolu province, renowned as a culinary destination and wellspring of Turkish master chefs, the Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet has continued a family tradition.His father and an uncle are both chefs, as are three of his brothers, the first-born of whom is a star on the five-star hotel circuit in Istanbul and the US.
“I studied under my eldest brother for three years before he nudged me out the door,” recalls Aydemir, fondly, of his start. “He told me, ‘You can learn plenty from me, but to really prosper, you’re going to have to work under other chefs.’”
Aydemir took the advice and now counts 25 chefs who trained him over two decades en route to Seasons Restaurant. Along the way, Istanbul became an international culinary hotspot: “Ten years ago, there was mostly Turkish cuisine in the city. Now you can find anything you want.”
Guests find international and Turkish specialties on Aydemir’s menu, created mostly from local product: fresh duck, goat cheese, wild mushrooms and more. “We’ve been working closely with local suppliers growing small baby vegetables especially for us,” he says, noting that his kitchen tends an on-site herb garden for his fragrant dishes.
Though he admits to spending half his time in the office, Aydemir learned the value of give and take with those doing the cooking long ago. “When we do new things, it’s always a team effort,” he says. “They are learning. I am inspiring. Everybody benefits from being involved.”
A glance at Aydemir’s resume reveals a long line of hotel restaurants – it’s a backdrop he prefers. Private restaurants tend to be constrained and narrow in focus, he says. “If you want to work with the best product, hotel restaurants are the place to do it.”
No matter how lofty a chef’s perch, he notes, there is always more to learn. To that end, Aydemir regularly takes his team out to draw inspiration from the Istanbul restaurant scene and ventures out on his own for work-study programs at other Four Seasons addresses. “You have to continue to taste and to train,” he says. Doubtless his eldest brother approves.