A.Ok. Demirhat fondly remembers rising up in Ankara, Turkey, surrounded by a household of excellent cooks.

“In Turkey, we usually desire to eat sit-down meals,” he says. “It is uncommon for us to snack all through the day or eat on the go, and it is also uncommon to have potluck meals whereby each particular person invited to dinner brings their very own dish to share.

“And one among my mom’s guidelines was that we might eat collectively similtaneously a household day-after-day. My mom’s cooking is so scrumptious, we frequently had guests — kin, pals and neighbors — be a part of us at our meals. Whereas my mom cooked the primary entrée meals, my father was serving to her to make facet dishes.”

It is this identical love of cooking that he brings to the desk at his restaurant, Cafe Ostro, in Dalton, Georgia, serving meals from his Mediterranean homeland and across the Center East. The cafe opened in 2018 and was lately honored by the Georgia Enterprise Journal as having the most effective Mediterranean meals in North Georgia in its Better of Georgia awards.

About Cafe Ostro

— Handle: 240 N. Hamilton St., Dalton, Ga.

— Specialty: Mediterranean meals created from scratch

— Entree value vary: $10-$16

— Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

— Cellphone: 706-529-7538

— On-line: cafeostro.com

(READ MORE: Cafe Ostro is Best of Georgia’s top Mediterranean restaurant)

Q: What’s your earliest cooking reminiscence?

A: Throughout highschool, my dad and mom had been each working lengthy hours, so I began cooking for my brother and myself. The very first thing I keep in mind making was a pasta dish.

Q: Who had the largest affect in your choice to turn out to be a chef?

A: My mom, for certain.

Q: Do you suppose Mediterranean meals has turn out to be extra mainstream in America?

A: As of now, sure, as a result of the Mediterranean weight loss program is a mixture of important meals. Within the final 5 years, the Mediterranean weight loss program has been chosen as the most effective weight loss program in the entire world.

Q: Do you may have individuals who are available in and have by no means tried meals from the Center East earlier than?

A: Shawarma is the merchandise most individuals have by no means tried earlier than. It is a dish with rotisserie slow-cooked rooster or beef and lamb mixed with genuine spices. There is a man named Jeremy who, after he tried it for the primary time, described it as “a fantastic mix of spices, and the rooster could be very flavorful.”

Q: What’s your favourite factor on the menu?

A: The Spicy Cheese Steak Sandwich. It has spicy beef served on bolillo bread (a crusty, football-shaped French bread) with contemporary jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, mozzarella and our spicy Ostro garlic sauce.

Q: Why did you determine to open a restaurant in Dalton?

A: As Dalton is rising, it was nice so as to add one thing completely different.

Q: What does “Ostro” imply?

A: Ostro is the identify of a wind on the Mediterranean Sea that blows from north to south.

Q: What was your response to discovering out you had been voted as having the most effective Mediterranean meals in North Georgia?

A: I used to be very excited and comfortable. My crew and I work very arduous, so to get the award was very significant.

Q: What’s one factor folks could not find out about you?

A: For my final meal I want to have Hen Shawarma topped with mild Ostro sauce.

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Workers Photograph by Matt Hamilton / Chef A.Ok. Demirhat says his selection for a final meal can be Cafe Ostro’s rooster shawarma plate.

Q: Who’re the three different folks at your desk in your dream dinner?

A: Cristiano Ronaldo (skilled soccer participant), chef Gordon Ramsey and actor Morgan Freeman.

Q: Do you may have a favourite cookbook or web site you are liking today?

A: I’ve by no means had a cookbook. I am an enormous fan of Gordon Ramsay and observe his exhibits and recipes. Additionally I take note of the Meals Community and a few web sites about herbs and superfoods.

Q: In the event you hadn’t turn out to be a chef, what would you may have completed?

A: I might be a soccer participant.

Q: What is the one piece of kitchen gear that is most vital to you?

A: My small kitchen knife.

Q: What meals is your responsible pleasure?

A: A giant slice of chocolate cake.

Q: What’s one among your favourite recipes to make at house?

A: Bulgar pilaf. I realized how you can prepare dinner this dish once I was a teen and nonetheless prepare dinner and revel in it on a regular basis. I really like its style and the well being advantages of bulgar.


Bulgar Pilaf

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 medium inexperienced bell pepper, chopped

1 pink bell pepper, chopped

1 medium tomato, diced

1 cup bulgar (not high-quality)

2 cups boiled water

1 teaspoon salt

Crushed pink pepper, to style

2 tablespoons butter

Add the olive oil to a nonstick pot. Add the chopped onion and chopped bell peppers, and prepare dinner 5-8 minutes on medium warmth.

Add diced tomato and prepare dinner 5-8 minutes till the tomato juices are absorbed. Add bulgar and boiled water, salt, crushed pink pepper and butter.

Combine all of the elements till properly mixed, and simmer till water is absorbed. If bulgar will not be cooked sufficient, add 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water and prepare dinner one other minute.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com or annebraly.com.

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Workers Photograph by Matt Hamilton / A.Ok. Demirhat, proprietor of Cafe Ostro in Dalton, Ga., says he began cooking as a teen.

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