Kitchen Notes August
GGünaydın Et Co-Founder Cüneyt Asan can surely be called the real excellency of the meat world. He built a meat republic for himself. Day and night, he is at the farms, in shops and in tv programs. The photo in his mobile telephone screen is neither the family nor himself, but a t-bone steak. He trains the best butchers and service personnel on one hand and works to have an indispensable name and place in the sector with new ideas and projects on the other.
What makes you that much successful?
Authenticity. Good will, fidelity, sincerity, pure quality, lasting satisfaction... These are the musts of this business. Nobility can't be gained in time, so the livestock from which you supply meat can't be pedigree in time. Good meat comes from quality animals. You can never go without this rule. Every day every night I stop by the slaughterhouse. There is not a day in which I don't show up at the farms. I live on a couple of hours of sleep and this is the reality of my work. This is what must be. I didn't take offence, nor felt tired nor took a step back after building 40 branches. I believe, on the contrary, that I have to work harder. I get my power from the fact that my partners Nimet and İsmet Yalçın are very professional, have experience in the sector and add value to our brand with their predictions.
Did you dream of the point you reached today when starting the business?
Today was not a dream for me. Now it is real. One should never forget his roots. I'm the son of a doorman. I never tried to cover this fact. This is my reality and this reality made me what I am today. I never worked to be someone else. I am a man who devoted his life to reach the point where we wants to be. I can't say I had a nice childhood but I owe my life to the determination I had at 10. My life changed in one day. We had very difficult times. My father never wanted me to leave school but we had limited facilities. I had a girl friend in primary school. She is my first love.One day our teacher said to this girl "Take Cüneyt home today after school. I want your mother to make him some winter clothes.’ I felt really humiliated. I went to her house. I put a good face on and had my size measured. Then I fought myself until I reached home, I cried. That psychology led me to the decision that I had to work and I went to the butchers' market near our home. I started to work that day and it did not take long for me to understand that I was born to do this job. The rest was just details.
Well how did you find these smart ideas?
I opened a butcher's shop with an American bar. It was on all newspapers. I can't say I found smart ideas, they are what made me who I am. This was something I felt when I first touched meat in that shop. It was inevitable. I pursued it and here I am.
Günaydın is a school not only as a restaurant but in term of service and kitchen work as well. How is your relation with the team?
They call me Master Cüneyt. There is no Mr. Cüneyt. I have personal dialog with everyone, I have my eye on them. We are training a professional team, from dishwashing to grill, from service and meeting customers. Günaydın is a big family. I started this business at 10 and I owe everything to this. We have the feeling of loyalty. Meat is my real love, then comes my work and then my family.
What are your near future plans for Günaydın? I remember reading that you will have a milk and dairy products initiative.
Our milk and dairy products farm is not adequately equipped yet, however it will be completed in time. This is one of our short term plans. We want to supply butter, milk, yoghurt from our farms. These products will not be on sale in markets. They will be used in our restaurants. People may provide them from here. Our restaurants currently have 40 branches.
We are planning to increase this number to 50 until 2014. For example we will have a branch in Diyarbakır. Then we will have two new restaurants in Erbil and Bacu, then comes Europe and then the USA. Our newest branch is in Şaşkınbakkal in place of Tike. We are making delicious kebabs. In autumn we will have a surprise place within Swissôtel. A new concept. We will deliver traditional Turkish cuisine with cooking techniques and special and local ingredients.
For that purpose I visited Anatiola many times in the previous months and I will continue visiting. We learned from a mother in one of Antep’s villages that çiğ köfte will gain its original taste when beaten on wood from walnut tree. And for içli köfte ingredients we have to use stone beater and they must be boiled. These are just two examples. We are building the concept of the place in Swissôtel on this sensitive base. This will be a starting point for us and we will progress with this concept.
What measures do you take for cleaning the kitchen and the lavatories? What rules do you have?
We place much emphasis on cleaning from top to bottom. We care for using in the best way quality and reliable products that provide maximum hygiene in the place. We care for training related to the use of products and provide regular training to raise hygiene awareness of our employees. In lavatories and kitchens we prefer paper products with dispensers that are both more economical and more hygienic. We also prefer antibacterial cleaning products.