Assoc.Prof. Yılmaz SEÇİM
Necmettin Erbakan University
Head of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Department
Konya is an ancient city that has hosted many civilizations and has hosted many ethnic elements from past to present. Of course, every civilization that passed through these lands left a beauty and an experience. Konya is among the cities that have proven itself in terms of gastronomy, as it is in every aspect. “Çatalhöyük”, one of the first known settlements in the world, is the main point of gastronomy in the settled order. As a result of the excavations at Çatalhöyük, many products such as wheat grains, lentil grains, oil seeds, cattle and small cattle bones were found. In addition, the food remains on the round stones prove that perhaps the first soup in the world was made in Konya. In fact, the discovery of wheat and animal bones led to the production of the keşkek, which is among the oldest dishes. Keşkek is also among the favorite dishes of Mevlana. However, in the Mevlana period, keskek was known and consumed as herse or herise. Today, it has taken its place among the geographically marked products of our Akşehir district, which is among the great values in gastronomic terms. There are many things that can be mentioned about the period of Mevlana, apart from the keskek. As far as I know, Mevlevi belief is the only sect that lives the cuisine and the religion in an integrated way. In fact, Mevlana's saying "My life, I was raw, I cooked, I burned" explains this situation very well. Again, in this period, job definitions were started to be made in the kitchen and the first foundations of the kitchen department formation were prepared by determining 18 tasks. However, since we could not explain this to the world, the perception that it appeared for the first time in France has emerged. For this reason, our main job should be to explain our gastronomic richness to the world. In fact, in recent years, Konya has made many projects on gastronomy and has started to make an impact both in our country and in the world. After that, I would like to mention about these projects in the rest of my article. The first of these projects, of course, is the registration of Konya dishes, which have many riches. In the last 3 years, with the support of the Konya metropolitan municipality, the number of geographically indicated products has exceeded fifty and has become the second city with the highest number of geographical indications in Turkey. The 2nd edition of the "Gastrofest" event, which also took great attention in Turkey, was held and more than 500,000 people participated. The best part of this festival is that it both re-introduced the forgotten flavors and contributed to its transformation into a commercial product. I believe that in the coming years, GastroFest will be the most well-known festival in the world and the number of participants will be at the highest level. There are a lot of national projects that have been done, but I would also like to mention about two international projects. One of them is that Konya is included in the national list of creative cities network in the field of gastronomy in the UNESCO creative cities network. Another is that the book "Konya Cuisine", prepared by me with the support of the esteemed Mayor of Konya Metropolitan Municipality Uğur İbrahim ALTAY, was selected as the best cookbook in the world by GOURMAND. Imagine, a book is being written that appeals to a local area, but it is registered as the best kitchen in the world. In the light of these good developments, Konya gastronomy continues to develop and change, especially in recent years. But is this enough, of course not. New projects should be continued and supported in order to introduce this rich cuisine and culinary culture to the world.