• The Role of Mevlevi Dishes in Gastronomy Tourism
  • The Role of Mevlevi Dishes in Gastronomy Tourism
  • The Role of Mevlevi Dishes in Gastronomy Tourism

In the Mevlevi cuisine, cooking in water, frying in oil, cooking in dry heat and cooking in a mixture of oil and water are used. In addition to these, the preparation of Mevlevi food has some differences from other cuisines due to some strict hierarchical rules in the Mevlevi period...

Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Mehmet ERTAŞ-a,
*Birsen BULUT LEFT-b,
Ceyhun Caglar KILINC-a
The importance of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi is rapidly increasing the number of tourists coming to Konya in the global tourism industry. Mevlevi cuisine is an unknown key factor for the competitiveness of tourist destinations. The aim of this study is to touch on important points about table culture in Mevlevi cuisine and to introduce Mevlevi foods due to their local and authentic values. The study also includes general characteristics of Mevlevi cuisine, such as eating habits. Mevlevi foods have been prepared for centuries using almonds, bulgur, chickpeas, honey, meat, eggplant, celery and molasses, except for seafood. 
In the Mevlevi cuisine, cooking in water, frying in oil, cooking in dry heat and cooking in a mixture of oil and water are used. In addition to these, the preparation of Mevlevi food has some differences from other cuisines due to some strict hierarchical rules in the Mevlevi period. Since the 13th century in Anatolia, the patience, determination, dedication and hard work of Dervishes have been measured while cooking Mevlevi dishes in the kitchen. As a result, Mevlevi cuisine with its original dishes can meet the expectations of tourists. 
To promote the value of this destination through gastronomy; It gives an opportunity to create a new tourism product and it is thought that the exotic and traditional dishes of Mevlevi cuisine will gain wide audiences and the appreciation they deserve.
The cultural values ​​of a society and the lifestyles of societies play an important role in eating and drinking habits. For this reason, it is a real fact that different societies have different food cultures (Güler, 2010, p. 24). Gastronomic tourism, which has emerged with the food culture that varies from region to region and attracting the attention of tourists, has an important place among tourism types as a tourist attraction. Gastronomy tourism is also known for providing an unforgettable integrity in terms of creating a unique food and beverage experience by providing an environment for the tourist to feel their cultural and local tastes, smells and textures during the holiday process (Beşirli, 2010). 
The local cuisine of the region where tourists will go is one of the important criteria when choosing a place (Cömert and Özkaya, 2014, p. 63). Today, almost every kitchen has its own unique features that can be considered basic. The local foods of the kitchens are one of the distinctive features that distinguish each cuisine from the others.
Turkish cuisine, which has a deep-rooted historical past, has not found the place it deserves among world cuisines, although it has a rich culinary culture. The main reason for this is that Turkish cuisine loses its influence and importance on world cuisines, due to the lack of adequate promotion of local dishes, which are at the core of Turkish culinary culture. Unfortunately, Turkey cannot clearly demonstrate its competitive advantage due to the fact that local dishes, which are about to be forgotten, cannot be brought to the fore (Arman, 2011).
Mevlevi cuisine, which is one of our local cuisine, carries the traces of history from the 13th century to the present day in the Central Anatolia Region and especially in the province of Konya. The Mevlevi food culture, which was born from Mevlana's giving a special importance to the cuisine in the 13th century, has not been fully appreciated in the national arena, although it has been tried to be kept alive even to a small extent in the Konya region.
In this study, some foods and beverages of Mevlevi cuisine were tried to be emphasized by considering the Mevlevi cuisine culture in terms of gastronomic tourism. In addition, the other aims of the study are to discover and introduce the flavors of the local foods, drinks and desserts of the Mevlevi cuisine, to bring them to light and to prevent them from being lost by processing them into written records.
Gastronomy Tourism and Its Importance
The term gastronomy, which was first used by the French writer Joseph Berchoux in 1801, was defined as "good eating, drinking and enjoying good food". Gastronomy tourism is a type of tourism that includes visiting local or rural areas, food producers, restaurants, food festivals and special areas in order to taste a special dish or see the production stages of a dish (Hatipoğlu, 2010; Yüncü, 2010). 
Gastronomy tourism reflects the cultural identity and heritage of that region by offering foods and beverages specific to the region, thus effectively providing competitive advantage for local destinations (Çalışkan, 2013; Henderson, 2009). Local foods, which are important elements of attraction for tourists, constitute a part of local culture (Kodaş and Dikici, 2012).
Looking at the last years in the tourism sector today; The importance of gastronomic tourism is increasing day by day. According to TÜRSAB's 2014 gastronomic tourism report data, while the number of tourists in the world exceeds 1 billion, 88.2% of these tourists emphasize that food is important in choosing a destination. As a result, the number of people who make their travel routes according to the taste stops in the world is increasing day by day. When the expenditures of the tourists coming to Turkey are examined; While the total expenditure of 41 million 415 thousand tourists who came to Turkey in 2014 was 34.3 billion dollars, 6 million 523 thousand dollars of this amount consists of food and beverage expenditures. This constitutes 19% of the total expenditures. 
The amount spent by tourists on food and drink during the period from 2004 to the end of 2014 constitutes approximately 21% of Turkey's total income from tourism revenues. In addition, it is stated that Turkey is in the 23rd place among the institutions operating in food tourism in the ranking made among 94 communities (TÜRSAB, 2014). According to TUIK 2016 data, the average periodical expenditure income was determined to be 5 million 527 thousand dollars (TUIK, 2016). In line with these statistics, it is thought that the Mevlevi cuisine culture will be effective in the satisfaction of tourists coming to Konya.
Mevlevi Culinary Culture
The foundations of Mevlevi are Muhammad Celaleddin Rumi, that is, Mevlana. Mevlana has many important works such as Mesnevi, Divan-ı Kebir, Fihi Mafih, Mecalis-i Seb'a and Mektubat (Horata, 1999, p. 45). Since education in Mevlevi Culinary Culture started in the kitchen, Mevlevi has created an advanced system of etiquette and kitchen rules (Özönder, 2002, p. 179). In the Mevlevi kitchen, the person responsible for the kitchen is Ateşbaz-ı Veli, or Şemseddin Yusuf with his real name. 
Ateşbaz-ı Veli means playing with fire and is also known as "Dede Chef" since he is in charge of the kitchen. Ateşbaz-ı Veli is also known as the person who guides, matures and educates dervishes who come to the kitchen as well as cook, who have devoted themselves to Mevlevi and who want to discipline their souls. People who entered the Mevlevi order used to address each other as "Can" or "Ali Can, Veli Can" by putting their names at the end (Bekçiler, 2007).
In Mevlevi, it is necessary to go through an ordeal in order to become a dervish or a dede. It takes 1001 days to pass ordeals in Mevlevi, and the person who successfully completes the ordeal receives the title of "dede" or "dervish" (Iyiyol, 2014). Although dede is the cook, dede and caliph dedes are in the management part of the kitchen (Figure 1). The cook grandfather is the person responsible for the arrangement of the budget in the kitchen and the management of the lodge. Kazancı grandfather, besides being the assistant of the cook, bears the main responsibility in all matters related to the kitchen. 
Caliph dedes are responsible for educating newcomers to the kitchen and guiding them to reach Mevlevi. In addition to this, the kitchen consists of people who are active in the sherbet, somat shop, inside and outside square and market kitchen section. The sherbet maker makes the sherbet and offers sherbet to those who want sherbet and come to visit. Somatçı sets the table, lifts it and sweeps the table area. The concierge is the person responsible for cooking and serving coffee for the visitors. 
The outfielder is obliged to inform the dervishes about the orders of the sheikh or the chief cook. On the other hand, the marketer is the person who goes to the market with his basket and does the kitchen shopping (Gölpınarlı, 1953; Halıcı, 2007; Şafak, 2012).
Figure 1: The Structure of the Kitchen (Matbah-ı Şerif) Organization in Mevlevi Source: Gölpınarlı (1953).
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
In Mevlevi, the kitchen is called Matbah-ı Şerif. In Matbah-ı Şerif, food was eaten at somats known as ground tables. As we know from Anatolian culture, Somat is prepared in the form of a Turkish Turkish floor table and it was based on many chains of rules for its arrangement in terms of appealing to the eye. The most important part in table manners is the way the spoons are placed on the table. Spoons; While eating, the somata were placed with their faces to the left and closed to the ground, and their stems to the right. In the Mevlevis, this stance was expressed as “In supplication” or “In gratitude”. 
The reason why the spoon is upside down is because it is not pleasant to see the mouth residue left in it. The souls in charge of offering water at the beginning of the table prepare the jug and water glasses. There was a mat for the Mevlevis to sit around the table. To sit around the somat, skins were placed and a long napkin, that is, a towel, was wrapped around the napkin. A pinch of salt was placed in front of everyone. With this salt, the Mevlevis disinfected their mouths before they started eating. Everyone at the meal would taste the salt by dipping the tip of their right shahada finger first on their tongue, then on the salt, and then the meal would begin. Meals were laid out and eaten from a single bowl. A trivet was also placed under the food to keep it warm. 
There is no talking during the meal, and when water is requested, it is announced with a friendly look. While he was immediately filling the glass with water, the others would take their hands off the table and wait for the person to drink the water. The person who was full would not get up from the table, he would turn his spoon upside down and wait for the others. After everyone turned their spoons, as mentioned at the beginning, the Mevlevi would first touch their right finger to their tongue and then dip it in salt and taste it (Bekçiler, 2007).
Material and Method
A literature review has been made about Mevlevi and Mevlevi cuisine culture. In addition, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 7 people (business owners and kitchen masters) operating in 5 restaurants operating in Konya and serving Mevlevi cuisine culture dishes, by determining the eating habits, table layouts, cooking methods and service arrangements made at the Mevlevi culinary culture tables. Data on Mevlevi cuisine culture were obtained in 2016. 
During the interview, the tone of voice, facial expressions and immediate response to the questions were taken into consideration during the evaluation phase. However, the face-to-face interview data obtained was limited to the information provided by the individuals. In sustainable gastronomy tourism, businesses that offer Mevlevi food have been the primary choice since it is thought that tourists may want to experience unique Mevlevi foods.
Findings and Discussion
Based on the findings obtained in the study, we can say that the Mevlevi cuisine culture has changed from past to present for various reasons. In this context, as a result of the effects of the globalization of the Mevlevi cuisine culture and the developments such as the decorations in the presentation of the food, the Mevlevi foods have diversified and some changes have been observed in these foods.
Table Culture of Mevlevi Cuisine
Giving great importance to the cuisine in the Mevlevi and the beginning of the dervish education in the kitchen played an effective role in the development of the Mevlevi cuisine culture. The culinary culture of the Seljuks, which was established in Central Anatolia, was greatly influenced by the Mevlevi cuisine culture (Batu, 2015).
In the Mevlevi food culture, soup comes first to the table, as in Turkish customs and traditions. While soup is drunk before the main course in restaurants in Konya, Sirkencübin is served in some restaurants to quench one's thirst before soup. It has been determined that lamb and beef are preferred in the preparation of main dishes in Konya Mevlevi restaurants.
Today, unpleasant behaviors at the table, for example; smacking, lying in front of someone else while eating and talking are never welcome in Mevlevi cuisine (Bekçiler, 2007). One of the most important features of the Mevlevi cuisine is that the food is cooked lightly without disturbing the structure of the ingredients in the dish. While mostly mutton is used in Mevlevi cuisine, according to Halıcı, nowadays, according to Mevlevi cuisine, veal meat can be used preferably in the preparation of dishes. 
Halıcı stated that a tablespoon of grape vinegar can be added in the meal to ensure the softness of the beef (Halıcı, 2007). In the Mevlevi kitchen, all food is cooked in copper pots. The reason for using copper pots is that copper transmits heat equally and quickly to all sides. Wooden spoons are used in the preparation and consumption of all foods (Halıcı, 2007; www.academia.edu, 2016; www.konyalife.com.tr, 2016).
Cooking Techniques of Mevlevi Cuisine
Although oil is never used in the preparation of dishes in Konya Mevlevi restaurants, it is noteworthy that especially cumin, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves are preferred more in the preparation of the dishes. In the Mevlevi cuisine, the cooking methods were examined under four headings; cooking in water, frying in oil, cooking in dry heat and finally cooking in a mixture of oil and water. He emphasized that it is applied in two types as cooking in water, boiling food in water or, rarely, steaming (Halıcı, 2007). 
It is stated that frying in oil, which is the second method, is applied in less or more oil in quantity. As another method, it is the method of cooking in dry heat (oven, sheet metal, grill, roasting, tandoori). The method of cooking oil and water mixture is applied to the dishes cooked in the pot (Halıcı, 2007).
Meals made with simpler materials during the Mevlana period played a role in the change of Mevlevi cuisine, as in other cuisines. In the Mevlevi cuisine, spices such as cumin, black pepper, sumac and cinnamon, which are mentioned in Mevlana's works, were used (Halıcı, 2007).
Mevlevi Dishes
Some of the most well-known Mevlevi dishes of Mevlevi Cuisine are given in Table 1. These; Tutmaç Soup, Toyga Soup, Sulbiye, Bulgur Vaccine, Quince with Molasses, Carrot Meal with Molasses, Celery Kalyesi, Bulamaç Vaccine (Halıcı, 2007). In addition, as salads, Cacik, Garlic Yogurt, Sumac Onion Bread and Eggplant Salad are the best known. In the Mevlevi Cuisine, as drinks and desserts, while Srkencübin and Rose Sherbet make up drinks, Rose Jam and Almond Halva are the desserts (Ankara Maturation Institute, 2013).
Table 1. Table of Mevlevi Dishes

Food Name






Tutmach soup

toyga soup

Strained yoghurt, butter, flour,

eggs, garlic, salt, mutton, water

Collar meat, rice, butter, black-eyed peas, flour, salt

(Halıcı, 1979: 89) (Kosay and Beyazıt, 1961: 50)







Main Dishes



Bulgur vaccine

Quince with Molasses

Molasses Carrot Meal

Minced meat, onions, boiled

chickpeas, tomato paste, garlic, salt, butter, black pepper, red pepper, cumin, water, Bulgur, clarified butter, onion, tomato, dough, Quince, water, rice, clarified butter or butter, grape molasses

Carrot, water, rice, oil, grape molasses, lemon juice, mustard, salt, thyme, rosemary

(Şanlı et al. 2011: 66)

(Kosay and Beyazıt, 1961: 40)

(Halıcı, 2007: 139)

(www.somatci.com, 2016)


celery root

Celery, lamb with bones, clarified butter, onion, broth, verjuice, salt

(Halıcı, 2007: 134)


slurry vaccine

Onion, ground beef, grape molasses, water

(Halıcı, 2007: 81)



charliston pepper





vinegar cube

rose syrup

Grape vinegar, honey, Rose flower leaf, water, granulated sugar, lemon juice

(Halıcı, 2007: 86; Özdoğan, 2008: 1073) (Özukan et al. 2002:



rose jam

almond halva

Fragrant pink rose, sugar, lemon juice, Almond (without shell), butter, olive oil, flour, sugar, rose water, water

(Gürkan, 2001: 462)

(www.somatci.com, 2016)

As seen in Table 1, although the ingredients of the most well-known dishes of the Mevlevi Cuisine are briefly mentioned, it was thought that it would be useful to detail some of them.
Tutmaç soup is a partly dish that resembles mantı in terms of its preparation, but whose juice is also drunk like soup (Figure 2:a). For the harsh winter months, the dough prepared from summer can be stored for a long time like noodles (Kut, 1999, p. 41).
Toyga soup is a dish prepared and consumed by the local people of Konya for special occasions (Işık, 1992, p. 50). Elements such as the ingredients in it being easily found, not expensive and being simple in terms of preparation are the most important factors in the transportation of the food from the past to the present (Oğuz et al. 2006, p. 16).
Sulbiye, which is a traditional dish and main dish for the Akşehir region, is very easy to make and prepare. Today, sulbiye is rarely produced in restaurants and restaurants (Şanlı et al. 2011, p. 66).
Bulgur vaccine is among the most consumed cereals (Figure 2:b). This is because it can be cooked at any meal. It is a dish usually made during the winter months (Işık, 2005, p. 93).
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Figure 2, (ab); (a) Tutmaç Soup, (b) Bulgur Vaccine Source: www.somatci.com.tr, 2016
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Quince with molasses is among the main dishes that are mentioned in Mevlana's works and are prepared in the Konya region (Figure 3:a). Nowadays, sugar is preferably used instead of molasses in quince with molasses (Halıcı, 2007, p. 139).
Carrot with molasses is a type of meal prepared by adding molasses after the carrot and rice are boiled and softened (Anonymous, 2016).
Today, celery root is made with olive oil and seasoned in Konya region. The seasoned celery is cooked without using groats (Halıcı, 2007, p. 134).
Slurry vaccine is a type of food that is easily prepared and consumed frequently. The difference between slurry soup and slurry soup is that it does not contain bread and has a thick consistency in the form of jelly (Halıcı, 2007, p. 81).
Having a cooling effect, tzatziki is highly preferred in the summer months. The most important point in making cacık is to adjust the amount of garlic well. There should never be a heavy garlic feeling in tzatziki and the garlic should be slightly palpable (Arsel, 1999).
Another food popular in Mediterranean countries and included in Mevlana's works is yogurt with garlic. Although it is served in different forms in almost every region today, yogurt with garlic is generally consumed alongside the main dish (Sadıkoğlu et al. 1999; www.earsiv.sehir.edu.tr, 2016).
Onion piyaz with sumac is consumed as an appetizer with the meal. However, since sumac does not grow in all seasons, attention should be paid to storage conditions. (Ozkanli, 2006).
Eggplant salad is a very common and popular summer salad that westerners refer to as "Eggplant caviar". The important point to be considered in the preparation of eggplant salad is that the eggplants are seedless. 
For this, bright, soft and dark colored eggplants should be chosen. The use of sunflower oil instead of olive oil in the eggplant salad also spoils the original taste of the salad (Arsel, 1999).
Vinegar is a drink made with vinegar and honey. Since vinegar contains vinegar, it is good for indigestion (Figure 3: b). It is also a drink that quenches one's thirst (Özdogan, 2008).
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Figure 3 (ab); (a) Quince Dish with Molasses, (b) Sirkencübin Source: www.somatci.com.tr, 2016
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Rose sherbet is usually made from red colored and fragrant roses. It is a natural drink that arises from the boiling of roses in water (Figure 4: a). It is served after the conversations of the Mevlevi dervishes from various countries. Today, it is still served on special occasions (Özukan et al. 2002).
Rose jam is a rare flavor that spreads from the Middle East and carries its existence from the past to the present. It is easy to make and is a widely consumed food in Mevlevi lodges (Gürkan, 2001).
Almond halva is a food served after meals on special occasions and ceremonies held during the Seljuk and Anatolian Principalities (Figure 4: b). At that time, molasses was used as a sweetener instead of sugar (Akın et al. 2015).
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
Figure 4 (ab); (a) Rose Sorbet, (b) Almond Halva Source: www.somatci.com.tr, 2016
Revitalizing Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Gastronomy Tourism in Konya
In face-to-face interviews and literature reviews, it has been determined that fish is not consumed in Mevlevi cuisine due to its gas-forming properties. However, as in Divan-ı Kebir, it is stated that the guests are offered fish even if they wish (Doğan, 2007).
As a result of the negotiations with the restaurants in Konya; It has been determined that the restaurants are tried to be designed according to the Mevlevi culture, the kitchen is called a soup kitchen, the bread is added to the place where one eats, the tea house is called tahmis and the toilets are called footyolu. In accordance with the Mevlevi culture, some quotations were included on the walls of the restaurant, and it was noted that it was decorated with Mevlevi figures and pictures. 
In addition, the guests are informed about the Mevlevi culinary culture in which Mevlana's works are mentioned, and some introductory brochures are distributed. The establishments do not use oil in their meals by adhering to the rules of Mevlevi cuisine. Since the meal was started with Sirkencübin sherbet and then ended with rose sherbet and tooth rent in Mevlevi, it was determined that the same practice was applied to the guests coming to today's Konya Mevlevi restaurants. 
In addition to the Mevlevi culinary culture, organically produced locally produced mulberry cream, grape cream, carrot jam, pepper jam, snap cream, plum kaki jam, mastic squash are sold in the restaurants as jarred products. In addition, offering mountain pear, steppe apple kak, mountain thyme, mountain tea, nettle are sold in packages as dried.
Mevlevi cuisine is a part of the local culture in terms of gastronomic tourism. Kitchen in Mevlevi; It is one of the important parts of dervishes where they undress and undergo the process of preparation, growing, cooking and maturation. The foods in the Mevlevi cuisine are mainly grains and pulses, and it has been determined that mostly mutton is used in the dishes. Despite this, it has been observed that there is no restaurant in Konya that fully reflects Mevlevi dishes, Mevlevi cuisine culture and Mevlevi table manners. 
As a result, some sanctions should be made about being meticulous in the preparation of Mevlevi food in order not to spoil the authenticity, by negotiating with the food and beverage operators trying to serve specific to Mevlevi cuisine. The importance of Ateş Baz-ı Veli, which is unique to Turkish culture, should be emphasized and it should be introduced to more audiences as it is a Mevlevi kitchen organizational structure. 
It is recommended to open some necessary courses in order to promote the food culture of Mevlevi cuisine. Again, activities should be organized in cooperation with relevant institutions and universities in order to promote the Mevlevi cuisine. It should be emphasized that the necessity of including Mevlevi foods and drinks in the events and ceremonies in order to keep the ambiance of the past alive for a bit, for gastronomy tourism.
Turkish Cuisine Chefs, Turkish Chef, Restaurant Consultancy, Kitchen Consultancy
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Tekerkaya, Ulas. Personal Conversation. Address: Akçeşme, Mengüc Cd. No: 36, 42020 Karatay/Konya. Meeting time and date: 15:00/10.04.2016.
From wool, Mehmet. Personal Conversation. Address: Aziziye, Mevlana Cd. No:65, 42030 Karatay/Konya. Meeting time and date: 10:00/07.04.2016.
As the head chef Ahmet ÖZDEMİR, I see the source:
Mr. I sincerely thank Mehmet ERTAŞ-a, *Birsen BULUT SOLAK-b, Ceyhun Çağlar KILINÇ-a for their academic work titled "Reviving Mevlevi Cuisine Foods in Konya in Gastronomy Tourism" and wish them success in their professional lives . It will definitely be considered as an example by those who need it in professional kitchens and the gastronomy and culinary community.
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