Cihan Kıpçak, a 2008 graduate and current advisory board member of the Bilkent Department of Tourism and Hotel Management, was involved in catering the official parties for the Oscar Awards ceremony. The two-star Michelin celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who organizes the parties, chose Mr. Kıpçak for his team, raising expectations that some Turkish food might be included in this year’s dinner menu.
After completing his education at Bilkent, Mr. Kıpçak was steered by Food and Beverage Management course instructor Oğuz Benice in the direction of Switzerland, where he gained experience in the kitchens of Stephane Montmayeur and Laval Alain. This experience was the turning point in his career. After returning to Turkey, he worked in executive chef positions and eventually opened his own restaurant, Gile, in 2012.
In 2013, he won the “Man of the Year” award in GQ magazine’s best chef category, and in 2014, Gecce.com’s “Chef of the Year” award. Since last year, Mr. Kıpçak has held the position of executive chef at Spago Istanbul, one of the restaurants in Mr. Puck’s global chain. He is also in charge of the weekly “Istanbul Pop-Up” at Spago Beverly Hills, offering Americans greater familiarity with Turkish cuisine.
Mr. Kıpçak notes that he started his career with “great equipment and motivation,” including the “Most Promising Young Performer Award” he received upon graduation from Bilkent. “Success is unavoidable,” he declares, “if you nurture your talent and career goals by means of the education and advantages available through Bilkent THM.”