Ozgür had been working in incentives tourism in Turkey for over 18 years, first as a part of the country’s leading teams and then leading a team of his own. He closed Grand Bazaar in Istanbul for the dinners of 500+ people, turned a uninhabited island in the Mediterranean sea into a beach club for 300+ people and took the teams of his Turkish clients all over the world. In 2010 Özgür decided to leave Istanbul and move to Sapanca, a village 1.5 hour drive away from Istanbul, to help parents run this family restaurant and hotel Zelis Çiftliği.
Russia-born Olga used to work as a strategy consultant for a global firm serving clients in Russia and Ukraine and received her master degree from a prestigious business school in Norway. But a visit to Istanbul inspired a stock-taking and, ultimately, a drastic career change. In 2010 Olga quit her consulting career and moved to Istanbul where she established Delicious Istanbul food tours and cooking classes to share her passion for the food and markets of the city she fell in love. In 2012 Olga also founded Istanbul breakfast club to promote the idea of Turkish breakfast amount the foreigners living in Istanbul and travelers to the city she hosted monthly at her kitchen in Moda. Since 2010 Olga has been sharing insights into eating and cooking Istanbul through her popular blog Delicious Istanbul featured in in the publications such as The Guardian, Die Ziet, The Huffington Post, Lonely Planet Traveler, Timeout Istanbul, Today Zaman.
We first met at Özgür’s mother hotel and restaurant Zelis Çiftliği where Olga stayed for a month to learn the ropes of Turkish cooking and Özgür, living in Istanbul back then, came over with his friends for dinner. We met and went ahead with our own lives. A year later Olga heard that Özgür left Istanbul to help his parents with the renovation of the hotel. Olga then visited to say hi. We had a second look at each other and needed no more time to decide.
After three years of being married and living in between Istanbul and Sapanca we thought that it was time for us to create something on our own and implement many ideas we have been collecting and cherishing through our travels in Turkey and abroad. We love good food. We enjoy hosting guests, being it a group of friends or perfect strangers. We thought that opening a restaurant, with Özgür being the front of the house and Olga running the kitchen, is the most natural thing we could do together.