In the heart of Berlin, in the vibrant Mitte district, stands the Oukan – an oasis of peace and pleasure. A refined vegan cuisine has been established here, which is now being taken to a new level by Timur Yilmaz, a native of Belgium with German-Turkish roots. After stints at famous eateries like Pujol in Mexico City and Frantzén in Stockholm, Yilmaz now returns to Berlin to add his own vision to Oukan’s Japanese Buddhist cuisine.
The culinary journey of Timur Yilmaz
Yilmaz grew up in a family where food always occupied a central place. He discovered his passion for cooking at a young age and began creating his own flavor combinations. After his business studies and a short career in the media industry, he was drawn back to gastronomy.
He started his career in the kitchen at Tulus Lotrek, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin. He later rose from Commis de Cuisine to Chef de Partie at Restaurant Cell. When the pandemic brought the gastronomic world to a standstill, Yilmaz seized the opportunity to travel the world and learn from the best chefs. He thus gained experience in top restaurants such as Pujol and Daniel Berlin before returning to Berlin.
The master of fermentation
Arriving in Berlin, he first worked at the CODA restaurant before moving to the Neukölln restaurant merold as head chef. There he was able to develop his skills in fermentation, an aspect he now wants to bring to the Oukan’s kitchen.
A new era at Oukan Berlin
At Oukan, Yilmaz now sees the opportunity to realize his vision of fresh and varied vegan cuisine. He plans to change the menus regularly and use the best ingredients depending on the season. Homemade fermented products such as soy sauce and miso paste are said to play an important role in his creations.
He wants to introduce guests to the depth of flavor that can be achieved through various techniques. He also plans to cook more over open fires to add unique flavors to dishes.
With Yilmaz at the helm of Oukan Berlin, the restaurant is entering an exciting new phase of its culinary journey.