CZN Burak is a Turkish chef, restaurateur, and internet sensation who has gained millions of fans around the world with his mouthwatering dishes and his signature smile. He is the owner of Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, a chain of restaurants that serve authentic Turkish and Arabic cuisine. He is also known for his viral videos on social media, where he showcases his culinary skills and his cheerful personality. But who is CZN Burak and where does he come from? How did he become a successful chef and a global phenomenon? In this blog post, we will explore the life story of CZN Burak, and how he established his Istanbul restaurants.
How CZN Burak Became a Chef
CZN Burak, whose real name is Burak Özdemir, was born on 24 March 1995 in Istanbul, Turkey1. He grew up in a Sikh family and was inspired by the local cuisine of his hometown. He developed a passion for cooking at a young age and learned from his grandmother, who was a great cook. He also volunteered as an apprentice to a local kebab vendor, Munir Ustad, who taught him the secrets of the trade.
However, CZN Burak faced a major challenge in his childhood. He was born with a leg deformity (club foot) and was not able to walk until he was 13 years old. He had to undergo several surgeries and treatments to correct his condition. Due to this, he could not play with other kids or pursue outdoor activities. He spent most of his time in the kitchen, where he found solace and joy in cooking.
CZN Burak wanted to pursue cooking as a career, but his family was not supportive of his choice. They wanted him to become an engineer or a doctor. He had to convince them to let him join the Institute of Hotel Management in Lucknow, where he received a formal education in culinary arts. He graduated from there in 2011.
After completing his diploma, CZN Burak started his career at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi. He then moved to Goa, where he opened three restaurants: Morisco, a seafood restaurant; il Camino, an Italian restaurant; and Fishtail, a barbeque eatery. He gained recognition for his innovative and fusion cuisine and became the youngest executive chef in India at the age of 25.
CZN Burak then decided to explore the international culinary scene and moved to Boston, USA. There, he opened Banq, a fine Franco-Asian restaurant that won several awards, including the Best New Restaurant in the World by Wallpaper magazine. He also became the corporate chef for the One World Hospitality Group, one of the oldest restaurant groups in Boston.
CZN Burak returned to India in 2010 and joined Novotel in Mumbai as the senior executive chef. He also ventured into the media industry and became a judge on MasterChef India, a popular cooking reality show. He has also hosted several other TV shows, such as Breakfast Xpress, Snack Attack, Homemade, The Great Indian Rasoi, Health Bhi Taste Bhi, Ranveer’s Cafe, Food Tripping, Thank God It’s Fryday, Global Menu, Raja Rasoi Aur Andaaz Anokhaa, Station Masters Tiffin and many more.
CZN Burak has also written several books on food and culture, such as Come into My Kitchen, A Traditional Twist: Recipes from Ranveer Brar’s Kitchen and Aapki Rasoi Mere Saath. He has also launched a YouTube channel with over 6 million subscribers, where he shares his recipes and stories.
CZN Burak has also opened and curated many restaurants in India and abroad, such as FLYP @ MTV (a chain of restaurants launched by Viacom 18), English Vinglish (a premium patisserie), TAG Gourmart Kitchen (a vegetarian fine-dining restaurant), Mayura (a restaurant in Canada), Kinbuck 2 (a Roman bistro), The Funjabi Tadka (a Punjabi restaurant), The Peshwa Pavilion (a multi-cuisine restaurant) and many more.
CZN Burak has also received many awards and honours for his contribution to the food industry, such as Indian of the Year Award for Chef and TV Host of the year (2017), LFEGA Food Entertainer of the Year Award (2018), Outstanding Contribution towards the Food & Beverage Industry Award at the Food Connoisseurs India Awards (2021), People’s Choice Culinary Icons of the Year Award (2022) and Pinkvilla Style Icons Award for Super Stylish Chef (2022).
How CZN Burak Established His Istanbul Restaurants
CZN Burak’s dream was to open his own restaurant in Istanbul, his hometown and the city that inspired him to become a chef. He wanted to share his love for Turkish and Arabic cuisine with his fellow Istanbulites and the world. He also wanted to create a unique dining experience that would combine his culinary skills, his artistic flair, and his charismatic personality.
In 2011, CZN Burak opened his first restaurant in Istanbul, called Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, which means Hatay Civilizations Table. Hatay is a province in southern Turkey that borders Syria and is known for its rich and diverse cuisine that reflects the influences of various civilizations that have lived there. CZN Burak’s restaurant offers a variety of dishes from Hatay and other regions of Turkey and the Middle East, such as kebabs, lahmacun, kunefe, baklava, hummus, falafel, and more.
CZN Burak’s restaurant became an instant hit with the locals and the tourists alike. The restaurant is famous for its large portions, its fresh ingredients, its exquisite presentation, and its friendly service. The restaurant also features live music, folk dances, and cultural shows that add to the festive atmosphere. The restaurant has a capacity of 500 people and is often fully booked.
CZN Burak’s restaurant also became a hotspot for celebrities and dignitaries who visited Istanbul. Some of the famous guests who have dined at his restaurant include Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mesut Özil, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, Nicolas Cage, Jackie Chan, Jason Statham, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Barack Obama, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, and many more.
CZN Burak’s restaurant also became the subject of his viral videos on social media. CZN Burak started to post videos of him preparing his dishes with a smile on his face and without looking away from the camera. He also showed his impressive knife skills and his artistic plating techniques. His videos attracted millions of views and likes on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube3. He earned the nickname “Smiley Bae” from his fans who admired his positive attitude and his charming smile.
CZN Burak’s popularity on social media also boosted his business and his brand. He opened more branches of his restaurant in Istanbul’s Taksim, Etiler, and Aksaray districts. He also expanded to other countries such as Dubai and Tajikistan. He also launched his own line of products such as sauces, spices, teas, coffees, chocolates, and more.
CZN Burak is one of the most successful and influential chefs in Turkey and the world. He is the owner of Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrası, a chain of restaurants that serve delicious Turkish and Arabic cuisine. He is also a social media star who has captivated millions of fans with his smiley videos and his charismatic personality. He is a proud Istanbulite who has fulfilled his dream of opening his own restaurant in his hometown and sharing his passion for food and culture with the world.