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Gaziantep’s Culinary Renaissance, A Journey into Slow Food and Cultural Richness

Preserving Tradition, Embracing Innovation, Gaziantep’s Roadmap to Culinary Excellence

In a remarkable initiative to celebrate Gaziantep’s rich culinary heritage and propel a healthier dining culture, Hasan Kalyoncu University’s (HKU) Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Department is pioneering a groundbreaking project. The goal is to elevate global awareness of the region’s gastronomic treasures and foster a renewed appreciation for traditional, slow food principles.

Gaziantep, a city with a history deeply influenced by multiple cultures, has long been a subject of extensive academic studies. Boasting over 500 unique dishes, the city’s cuisine reflects its rich cultural tapestry, shaped by the traditions of diverse communities over the years.

At the heart of this initiative is the incorporation of the “slow food” movement, championed by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s. This movement advocates for prioritizing local values over the globalized, fast-food trends that have dominated modern consumption patterns.

Furkan Baltacı, the head of the Gastronomy Department at HKU, emphasized the desire to integrate Gaziantep’s kitchens into the slow food movement. The project aims to showcase the cultural richness of the region, known as the ‘fertile crescent,’ while simultaneously boosting the international recognition of Gaziantep’s cuisine.

Internationalization and branding are key aspects of the project, as stakeholders collaborate to develop a roadmap for Gaziantep’s culinary journey. The focus is on identifying standout products, promoting natural cultivation without additives, and ensuring access to cleaner, safer, and superior-quality food. The overarching vision is to contribute to the global image of Gaziantep while prioritizing the health and well-being of future generations.

Baltacı articulated the department’s vision, stating that their goal is not merely to follow culinary innovations but to establish Gaziantep as a leader in culinary innovation, utilizing the slow food movement as a transformative tool.

Abdulkadir Katmerci, President of the Gaziantep Restaurants, Kebab Shops, Baklava Shops, Dessert Shops, and Pastry Shops Chamber, echoed these sentiments. He highlighted the potential benefits for both the city and humanity by shifting away from the harmful fast-food habits that have prevailed over the past two decades.

As Gaziantep embarks on this culinary renaissance, it is not merely a celebration of its gastronomic treasures but a commitment to shaping a healthier, culturally rich, and internationally recognized culinary landscape

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