The Leaders of Enogastronomy

Osman Sezener, From Pizzeria to Two-Starred Gourmet Chef: The Turkish Talent Shares His Journey

Elisa Erriu
copertina osman sezener

Osman Sezener's culinary roots are deeply embedded in Turkish tradition, nurtured through hands-on experience in his family's historic pizzeria. Yet, Osman has ascended to the peaks of haute cuisine, establishing himself as a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement.

The Story

With one eye on tradition and the other on the future, Osman Sezener stands out as a significant figure not only for enthusiasts of haute cuisine but also beyond. From the heart of Turkey, this chef has captivated the palates of the world's most discerning critics with a philosophy that melds sustainability and innovation in the kitchen. His approach and achievements have been highlighted in a special feature on the Michelin website, underscoring his unique blend of traditional skills and pioneering vision. 

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Osman Sezener's journey began at the Ristorante Pizzeria Venedik, established over 40 years ago by his father, Ahmet Günter Sezener. Located in Izmir, this restaurant is now considered a local institution, renowned for its intriguing array of Italian dishes. Venedik's success lies in its ability to blend Italian and Turkish culinary traditions into unique dishes such as shrimp-stuffed ravioli and "Turkish-style pizza." The secret to its popularity is undoubtedly its fusion of these culinary traditions, paired with exceptional hospitality.

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From a young age, Osman Sezener immersed himself in the culinary arts and Turkish artisanal traditions, skillfully blending these early lessons with modern training from Bilkent University and the French Culinary Institute in New York. This diverse background enabled him to develop a distinctive style that marries classic techniques with avant-garde ideas. Sezener often emphasizes the importance of identity and roots, highlighting the need to remember where one comes from, and using this foundation to inform and enrich his culinary creations.

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In 2018, Osman Sezener opened Od Urla, moving beyond Istanbul's culinary scene to draw people to the region of Urla to experience his dishes. Located in Urla itself, the gourmet restaurant epitomizes the "farm to table" philosophy, fully harnessing its potential. Spread over a vast area, the restaurant boasts its own vineyard, farm, and multiple separate kitchens, serving as tangible symbols of Sezener's commitment to sustainability. Honored with both a MICHELIN Star and a Green Star, Od Urla stands as a pinnacle of environmentally conscious cuisine.

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Not only is Osman Sezener committed to culinary excellence, but he also collaborates with gardening experts to ensure the use of fresh, local ingredients, updating the menu with each season. His commitment to a zero-waste philosophy is evident in the meticulous way each ingredient is utilized, from vegetables grown on-site to ethically raised animals. In 2021, Sezener expanded his culinary vision to Bodrum with the opening of Kitchen. Located in the luxurious Bodrum Edition Hotel, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers breathtaking views over Yalıkavak Bay. Kitchen's menu celebrates the produce of the Northern Aegean, featuring dishes like local octopus and Bargilya prawns. The menu caters to vegetarians and vegans with options like caramelized pear and goat cheese ravioli, along with various dishes featuring mushrooms and artichokes. A carefully curated wine and cocktail list completes the upscale dining experience.

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Osman Sezener is more than just a chef; he is a pioneer of Turkish cuisine who has successfully promoted the cultural heritage of his homeland. His focus on high-quality ingredients and his commitment to sustainability have redefined the dining experience, offering guests not just a meal, but an immersive experience that celebrates nature. Sezener's approach highlights how a deep respect for local traditions and environmental stewardship can elevate the culinary arts, turning every dish into a story of flavor and responsibility.

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