GALLADA is the backdrop to the retelling of 2 stories equal in culinary significance: one of the Silk Road's Eurasian trade route and one of Chef Fatih Tutak's odyssey.
Raised in Istanbul, Chef Fatih Tutak's early passion for the culinary arts was kindled by his mother's flavourful home cooking, which not only filled their home with joy but also inspired his career path. He attended culinary college in Mengen to find himself drawn to an unfamiliar route of the Far Eastern cuisines. In his endeavour to define his craft, he treaded through China, Singapore, three Michelin-starred Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo and renowned Noma in Copenhagen, before relocating back to Hong Kong, Thailand, and in February of 2019, returning to his home, Turkey. It was at home, after all the years of immersing himself in the heritage cultures prosperous with spice, flavour and knowledge, the Turkish chef launched his venture TURK TATiH TUTAK which was awarded Two-Michelin Stars in 2022.
Chef Tutak's menu at GALLADA is a rich gastronomic journey of Turk-Asian culinary tapestry. It is founded on the beautiful flavours birthed from the Silk Road and embellished with the chef director's unique alliterations. Perched on the rooftop of the exquisite The Peninsula Hotel Istanbul, this venture is the collaboration of the near-century-old heritage hotel and the chef's innovative culinary vision. GALLADA is bold, eclectic and celebrational of legacy and modernity. Here, Chef Director Fatih Tutak invites diners on a journey through his culinary legacy, offering a taste of history reimagined for the modern palate.
1. How would you describe your culinary philosophy?
My culinary philosophy has been shaped by my experiences. I draw inspiration from the rich traditions and culture of my country, learning from them every day. I believe in harnessing these traditions to propel Turkish cuisine into its next evolution. At GALLADA, our focus lies in the historical and cultural intersections of the Silk Road. We aim to take our guests on a flavourful journey, exploring the traditions of these trade routes as they connect to Istanbul.
"Dining at GALLADA is a voyage along the Silk Road, and my hope is that guests will depart with a genuine sense of adventure that begins in Istanbul and traverses the diverse landscapes of Asia."
- Fatih Tutak, Chef Director of GALLADA
2. How have your cultural background and experiences shaped your approach to cooking?
My heritage and experiences have profoundly influenced my approach to cooking and shaped my culinary style. I first discovered my passion for cooking in Istanbul at the age of 9. I used to accompany my mother to the market, where I fell in love with the captivating aromas and fresh produce. Subsequently, I made the decision to attend culinary school in Mengen, a small province near Bolu, where I had the privilege of learning from some of Turkey's finest chefs. After graduating, I embarked on a journey to Asia to further explore and enhance my culinary skills. This experience introduced me to an incredible world of multiculturalism. In China, I delved into the art of working with fermented dry ingredients, which add a rich umami flavour to their dishes. I also spent time in Qingdao, a city in the Shandong Province, prioritising high-quality, fresh ingredients.
However, it was Tokyo that left the most profound impact on me. There, I delved deep into various cooking techniques and discovered an astonishing variety of ingredients. What mattered most to me was incorporating these diverse experiences into my culinary style while always honouring my Turkish heritage.
3. What is the philosophy of GALLADA cuisine?
The ingredients and the concept of the journey are essential to what we do at GALLADA. I have always found the ancient Silk Road routes fascinating due to their legends, customs, and culinary complexity. GALLADA elevates the connections between these cultures. It features bold flavours that bridge extensive gastronomic histories with a contemporary twist on Turkish cuisine using locally sourced produce and exploring a wide variety of ingredients found across Türkiye, with a particular focus on hyper-seasonal vegetables.
The storytelling also traces the 100-year journey of The Peninsula Hotels, beginning with the first property in Kowloon in 1928. It continues to the present Turkish location that overlooks the Bosphorus Strait at Galataport which featured great hospitality projects.
4. What do you aim to bring to Istanbul's culinary scene with GALLADA?
We aim to bring an innovative offering to Istanbul’s culinary scene, set within breathtaking scenery. Together with Topside Bar, we are creating a vibrant, immersive atmosphere transporting guests on a journey of the senses.
"However, always bear in mind that the key to success lies in dreaming big, regardless of the challenges you face in the early years of your career, as culinary excellence is unattainable without this ambition."
- Fatih Tutak, Chef Director of GALLADA
5. Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs?
I believe that the quickest path to learning is to fully immerse yourself in a kitchen environment and persevere without giving up. Achieving the status of a top chef demands unwavering dedication and a substantial amount of effort. However, always bear in mind that the key to success lies in dreaming big, regardless of the challenges you face in the early years of your career, as culinary excellence is unattainable without this ambition.
6. What do you hope the guests will take away from dining at GALLADA?
Dining at GALLADA is a voyage along the Silk Road, and my hope is that guests will depart with a genuine sense of adventure that begins in Istanbul and traverses the diverse landscapes of Asia. Our aim is to craft an unforgettable experience enriched with exceptional events.
All imagery is provided by Lotus International.