The Turkish Cuisine is one steeped in an ancient and rich heritage that reached its finest in the Ottoman Dynasty. Nutrition laws and high standards were set as to be freshness and quality of produce and preparation. The kitchens of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul invented and devised the most sumptuous feasts from the elaborate to the simplicity of a simple but delicious soup. What was good enough for the Sultan, was good enough for his people, and so recipes eventually made their way to the masses. After so many years the tradition still continues, in Charlottesville.
Gokhan Deniz Dikmen
Deniz grew up in the western culture of Turkey in the Aegean region. Raised in Izmir, Turkey – the pearl of the west – with his two brothers, Deniz has fond memories of family meals enjoying local seafood and homemade vegetable stew. While studying European Tourism Economy & Hotel Management in Antalya, Turkey – the gateway to the Turkish Riviera – Deniz held internships in Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France. With almost 20 years in the hospitality industry, Deniz has travelled the globe via land, air, and sea. His experience includes working for both Sheraton and Dorint hotel groups, as a flight attendant/purser for a Turkish airline, a customer relations specialist for a travel agency in Turkey, and a member of the dining staff for Royal Caribbean Cruises. His passion for traveling eventually led him to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was the Food & Beverage Manager at the Clifton Inn – one of only two Relais & Chateaux properties in Virginia. Deniz later went on to earn his MBA from Strayer University in Richmond, Virginia. A certified sommelier, Deniz is enthusiastic about wine and is always happy to make a recommendation to Sultan Kebab’s diners. Deniz also loves the theater, having acted himself in high school and university, and likes to take in a show when he is not busy at the restaurant.
Serhat is from Adana, Turkey which is situated on the Seyhan River in the south central part of the country. At an early age Serhat could be found in the kitchen with his family learning to make local delicacies including the famed Adana kebab. He attributes his culinary talents to his father, having grown up watching him make sausage, yogurt, and cheeses. Serhat also learned farming from his father and can often be found tending to his tomato plants in front of the restaurant. After studying Tourism & Hotel Management at Uludag University, Serhat spent several years working at hotel properties in Marmaris, Turkey and Northern Cyprus. During that time he honed his skills as a bartender which brought him to the Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2007. While at the Clifton Inn, it was hard to keep Serhat out of the kitchen. He crafted lavender, ginger, and mint simple syrups to be used in the house cocktails and put on a chef’s jacket to lead a Turkish cooking demo. Serhat feels at home in the kitchen and loves that he has the opportunity to share a piece of his home with others. On busy days he draws energy from seeing the reactions of diners as they try his food for the first time. When not in the kitchen, Serhat seeks out adventure by rafting, riding roller coasters, and scuba diving.