Having served diners from Asia to Africa, Hakan Akgun (49) has chosen Bamber Bridge as his latest destination for a Turkish restaurant, which he runs with his wife, Guldarye.
The pair opened Taste of Turkey in Station Road yesterday, describing the people of Bamber Bridge as their “guests, not our customers”.
The eatery will offer fresh, healthy and old-style Turkish dishes cooked in a real charcoal grill and prepared in authentic tapas pots, while the venue is decorated like a village garden.
Guldarye, who is from Kazakhstan, said: “We wanted to be in a small village with a good community where you know your neighbours. We like it here. All the small businesses nearby have welcomed us.”
Hakan, who is from Turkey, has more than 30 years’ experience in the food industry, having worked in a bakery at 13-years-old.
He has cooked for Indian food festivals, in Dubai’s first Turkish restaurant in a hotel, and as a food and beverage manager for the American Embassy in Kazakhstan.
The cooking star has also owned several businesses abroad: a restaurant; a sweet factory; and a ready-made meal factory; and has helped to feed 9,000 Ethiopians struggling to find fresh food.
The couple moved to the UK in 2019, opening their first Taste of Turkey venue in Manchester Road, Preston, the same year. But just a few months later, it was forced to close by lockdown.
Guldarye said: “It was a difficult time. We tried to do takeaway but we’re a restaurant and love having a relationship with customers.”