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Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

  • Çırağan Cad. No. 28, 34349 Istanbul, Beşiktaş, Turkey
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Serap Akkus

Director of Food and Beverage
“We’re the top-of-the-line here in Istanbul; all of our dining must be at that level.”

 

Four Seasons Tenure

  • Hired 1996, now since 2017
  • First Four Seasons Assignment: Restaurant Server, Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Employment History

  • St. Regis Istanbul; Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet; Istanbul Ramada Hotel

Birthplace

  • Istanbul, Turkey

Education

  • Diploma, Hotel Industry School, Istanbul

Languages Spoken

  • Turkish, English

There are a lot of people hungry for Turkish culinary culture these days, and as Director of Food & Beverage Serap Akkus sees that they enjoy it in style at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. “With our location along the river, we’re a destination for people who want to experience the different ways of Turkish cuisine,” she says. “So we show them.”

Now in her second go-round with Four Seasons in Istanbul, Akkus works closely with her team, stays on top of trends, and delves deep into presentation possibilities to satisfy the wide-ranging desires of clientele. The job can be challenging: Some guests prefer distinctive traditions, she says, while younger guests of the Instagram-every-dish generation like new twists on Turkish themes. “We are prepared to do things differently with luxury touches to keep people happy according to their tastes.”

She is also prepared to take big, bold steps. Shortly after Akkus joined the property in 2017, the Hotel opened Ocakbaşi, a summer “pop-up” that covered the waterfront of contemporary Turkish cuisine. Originally intended for a one-month run, the restaurant continues to pop as Akkus heightens the experience, from re-envisioning interior design to recruiting dedicated kebab and mezze chefs. “We’re the top-of-the-line here in Istanbul; all of our dining must be at that level.”

That goes as well for the Hotel’s vast banqueting operation, which offers 30,000 square feet of function space as well as options for catered tours and cruises. There is plenty of competition for group business along the Bosphorus, says Akkus, “so I am always looking for ways to make our events even better.”

She mentions the Hotel’s new Wedding Butlers, on call for eight-to-ten hours on wedding days to ensure brides and grooms are head-over-heels happy and have everything they need. “The Butlers are there for everything, from testing food to taking care of special needs. It’s a layer of service and attention that distinguishes us from the competition.”

After earning a diploma from a hotel school, Akkus quickly found her way to Four Seasons. She started as a server at the company’s Sultanahmet property in Istanbul’s oldest district and worked her way up to Food & Beverage Manager over 18 years before departing to take an opening position at another luxury hotel. She wanted to broaden her experience and see how other companies do F&B, she says. “I learned a lot all right – almost too much. But my heart has always been with Four Seasons. I knew I’d be back.”

Though ever-busy at work, Akkus likes to take work home with her: visiting new restaurants, cooking meals with her daughter, and staying on top of developments in the growing Turkish wine industry, of which she is a fan. There’s a reason, she says, that Turkish cuisine is so popular right now. “It has so much to offer.”