ISTANBUL – My most recent dining adventure was courtesy of Burçe Bekrek, one of the most talented upcoming fashion designer in Turkey. I discovered Burçe beautiful creations during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin where she showcased her latest “Interleave” SS13 collection. Born in Istanbul, Burçe graduated from Istanbul’s Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts, Textile and Fashion Design with an honors degree and pursued a Master Program in Fashion Styling at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, where she worked on projects for D&G and Dsquared2. Upon completion of the Master of Fashion Styling, with honors, she moved back to her hometown of Istanbul. In 2008, Burçe received Fashion TV Turkey’s “Most Promising Fashion Designer” award and started to work as an Instructor at Yeditepe University Faculty of Fine Arts, Fashion and Textile Design Department. Bekrek has been teaching Fashion Styling since 2008 and in 2012 she also included academic work in the Art and Design department. As a freelancer, her commercial fashion designs were used by major brands such as Porsche, Audi and Bentley. Bekrek established her own brand “Burçe Bekrek” and launched the first collection “Intro/Versa Fall 2011” at her new store in Nisantasi, Istanbul.
Within two years Burçe developed a unique signature style for modern design with a focus on clean cuts, excellent fit and high quality fabrics. Serenity and minimalism are the core foundation throughout Burçe Bekrek’ s design process. The style of her latest collection SS13 “Interleave” points out a new minimalistic rock chic style.
Some looks from the “Interleave” SS13 collection during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin
The recipe chosen by Burçe for our dinner was: Stuffed Cypriot Chicken and while she was preparing it, she shared with me her passion for cooking.
“Being a fashion designer and stylist I am a very creative and visual person in several areas. I love the creative process of cooking and it is my second obsession after fashion, which I inherited from my mum and brother. My family doesn’t generally cook traditional Turkish food, we rather prefer to experiment and mix different ingredients and make our own recipes. I must confess though, that I particularly love Italian food, likely because I lived in Italy for a while. Twice a year I try to go on vacation in different countries where culinary art has a remarkable presence. Culinary countries feed my design process, my collections are influenced by different lifestyles and cultures, and food is definitely representative of them. To understand a society, you should first look at their eating habits and their food culture.
I believe that cooking is a very similar process to design. As I mentioned before, my collections are a little bit playful and multifunctional. I mean, if I design 70 pieces for each collection, you can mix and match any look and create new styles for different occasions.
My cooking method is so similar to my fashion career. I love to prepare meals that at first impression look basic, and easy, but when you get the first bite you actually feel that hidden ingredients make everything more tasteful, they offer you an aromatic journey.
That’s the reason I decided to cook Stuffed Cypriot Chicken for this dinner. This is one of my favorite recipes and despite it is very easy to make, the taste is very sophisticated.”
Stuffed Cypriot Chicken Ingredients:
- small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
- small bunch of basil
- 8 sun dried tomatoes (not in oil)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 100g feta cheese
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Lemon zest
Turn the oven to 220 Celsius. Pile the parsley, basil and sun dried tomatoes onto a chopping board with a little olive oil and a pinch of pepper. Crush over 2-3 cloves of garlic and chop everything together mixing with the knife as you go. Crumble over the feta, finely grate over lemon zest and mix again.
On a big sheet of greaseproof paper, put the chicken breasts down and using a knife carefully fold back the fillets and cut a little pocket in each one until you can open each breast like a book. Divide the filling equally among the 4 chicken breasts, pat down and then fold back.
Add a little olive oil to an empty frying pan, and using tongs carefully lay the chicken down. Scrunch up a sheet of greaseproof paper under the tap, slightly wetting it then flatten it out and tuck over the chicken, leave to cook shaking the pan every now and then.
Sprinkle salt and pepper onto your uncleaned chopping board and add a teaspoon of oregano and 2 cloves of garlic. Take our flat breads and rub them on the board, then wrap them in some greaseproof paper and put them in the oven.
The chicken should be golden underneath, so carefully turn each breast over and add 4 small sprigs of rosemary to the pan. Recover with the greaseproof. Put a medium frying on top of the chicken to push it down a bit and help it crisp up.
Cook the chicken for a further 10 minutes and then it should be ready.