I wish I could sit down and write about all the amazing people we encounter on a daily bases in Turkey. I never would have thought that this country, has not only incredible resources, but also wonderful people.
Just got back from Adana today after being there for five days. The drive to and fro is a sight of some of the natural resources this country produces. In the Adana area, it is a cornucopia of citrus and nuts. Between Adana and Ankara, we see farm trucks parked on the side of the road selling potatoes, onions, grapefruit, oranges, lemons and any nut you can think of. I am amazed at how successful this country is on farming. Not just small bags of these items, but bags weighing 10 kilos or more. We could have stopped and purchased a bag of potatoes that would have lasted a month for us, for perhaps 20 lira. (about $8)
We stay at the Hilton Hotel in Adana, and on one of the top floors is the Executive lounge. We go up there and get free snacks that pretty much makes up our dinner which saves us about $20-30 each. Plus there is a small assortment of drinks available. I usually bring my own whiskey because what they give is what the local Turks like.
Last night as we sat in the lounge, the head chef came in to peruse the area. He is the one who made the good food we were eating. He could tell we were English, so he came by to express his gratitude for us being there. We too looked upon him as a special individual who has excelled in his ranks. Any of you who have cooked for the public, will know it is no easy task, especially when it comes to good cuisine.
When he came to our table, I stood, shook his hand and told him how delicious the food was. His handshake was firm, indicating his confidence in his craft. We spoke a few minutes, asking each other where we were from.
He is Turkish and had chefed in Beirut, Tunis (Tunisia) and Mersin on the Mediterranean Coast. He has been in Adana for 8 months. I used the trick I use with several people, that my mother is 900 years old and loves pictures of people we meet. I asked him if he would be so kind to allow me to take his picture, and replied, Of Course!
So, below is a chef whose food we find delicious, yet unusual for any American.To Chef Ismail, I bid you success and prosperity in your life. You deserve all that is good.
For the rest of us, keep your head up and kick butt. D.