I am sitting in Paris at a sandwich corner without a Michelin Star

ak0It is just a sandwich. What Italian’s call Panini and American’s call sandwich… Italian Ciabatta, French baquette or Turkish pide, yes whatever kind of bread you like, slice it into two and stuff it with hams, cheeses, tomatoes and lettuces and salads, tuna fish, salmon, meat, chicken and gyro; what you like best and dress it with various sauces that is called spread for juicing it…. Here is a simple fast food!

And this simple fast food is nearly everybody’s main dish. The only food you can find at every corner no matter where you are.

Do you know the story?

The sandwich is created by a request from a very renowned gambler not wanting to get up from the table. This request was to be served meat between to pieces of bread. The gambler was not anybody either. He was Mantagu, the count of Sandwich region located near the northern seas of England after which Hawaii islands, discovered by Captain Cook in 1778, were previously named. The other gamblers at the table ordered: ”bring us the same as Count Sandwich’s” and from then on the meat served between two pieces of bread was begun to be called “Sandwich”.

ak32In Istanbul, the toasters are famous. Although the toast corners have become traditional like Turkish bagel (simit) palaces, “toast” is an international food, therefore we do not deem it as Turkish yet.

In the last ten years in Turkey, places have been opened similar to European sandwich corners in addition to toasters. The modern Istanbulites, who are finally able to enjoy full and contended bread in spite of the empty white bread, are introduced to sandwiches with salmon, tuna fish and ham. The same cafes also include in their menus the salads and soups appealing to the young girls like me who try to stay in shape, and in my opinion these kind of locations are always in business!

ak33And then my chef’s brain who has seen and worked in famous restaurants called Michelin Star, High Quality, Fine Dining or whatever you may call creating fantastic dishes begin to elaborate: since a human-being desires only simple and delicious food, then what do we, as chefs, pursue? Isn’t it a system of the capitalist world bringing money and nurtured by advertisement? Doesn’t the chef from Bolu working in the best restaurant or in the classiest venue in Istanbul forget about all that fancy menu after work and eat meatballs drinking Rakı? While we torture ourselves in the kitchen for Michelin star, don’t we all go to sandwich corners on our free Sundays? The Italians praise the food eaten in Trattoria as being delicious like their mothers, and the Turks talk about tradesman restaurants with a passion like nothing else. Of course, the purpose, buyer and representation of each dish differs and this becomes an industry, therefore all these venues shall exist. Please do not think that I belittle Michelin star. On the contrary, I oppose the ignorant attitude of “what is this, they serve very little food” towards the unique dishes created in Michelin starred restaurants.

I do not know if they will ever grant a Michelin star to a sandwich corner, however I only believe that eating outside is not an activity of art but a leisure hour that people spend good time and eat their fill. The meat is the same meat and the fish is the same fish, so if you cook it perfectly, you either get a Michelin star with a fancy dish or the smiles on your customers’ faces…