“If you know Turkish cuisine it is a mix of many cultures and cuisines over time. That means meat, fish, vegetables and pastries are all part of the daily lives.”

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Irmak is a pastry chef, serving meals inspired by her Turkish background

Get to know Irmak in this Q&A, and get her 🌿Grilled Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Thursday (4/1) and Friday (4/2) from 5-7PM!

Q: What can you tell us about the dish you’re making?

Irmak: It’s grilled chicken with garlic sauce, broccoli and seasoned chickpeas. It is a balanced, low calorie plate with steamed vegetables. Each item is healthy and delicious.

Q: Where did you grow up and what kind of food did you grow up with?

Irmak: I am from Turkey. If you know Turkish cuisine (aka Mediterranean) it is a mix of many cultures and cuisines over time. That means meat, fish, vegetables and pastries are all part of the daily lives.


Irmak’s 🌿Grilled Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Broccoli and Seasoned Chickpeas.

What I love about living in Chicago is, I get to explore different ingredients and try to improve on recipes. I’ve been trained in European pastries and breads so I’m a big fan of desserts and living in Chicago for the past five years allowed me to explore various ingredients, allowing me to be flexible and more creative with my recipes.

Q: What’s your cooking background?

Irmak: Cooking and especially baking has started as a childhood hobby. My grandmother and my babysitter loved to cook, bake and teach. By their influence and with a little bit of skill; I started practicing, trying new methods, new recipes, and improving different ones.

Unfortunately, instead of going to culinary school, I studied business and finance in college. However, I knew that was not possible to spend my whole life away from what I wanted, being in the kitchen and working with food.


Irmak’s 🍚Chicken Sauté with Rice and Hot Pickles.

Finally, upon graduation I was accepted to a culinary school in Turkey and found my way, in a more formal fashion, to the kitchen, cooking and baking. Since then, I’ve been specializing in pastry and breads.

Q: Anything else we should know about you and your cooking?

Irmak: Each cuisine has different ways, habits and ingredients. I love to try, mix and be open minded.

I don’t like to waste food my goal is to build a menu around interchangeable ingredients so that at the end I’m having full meal with limited waste.


Get Irmak’s 🌿Grilled Chicken with Garlic Sauce, Thursday (4/1) and Friday (4/2) from 5-7PM on Shmeal!

By Shmeal

The Shmeal Team. 🐖💻
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