FACT Chats: CZN Burak, celebrity chef and restaurateur

Partner Content: Celebrity Chef and TikTok personality CZN Burak recently opened the first international location for his Turkish restaurant concept in Downtown Dubai. So naturally FACT caught up with the man who is synonymous with gigantic food portions and an ever-so cheeky smile.

What can diners expect when dining at CZN Burak Dubai? 

Designed to reflect a sultan’s majlis atmosphere, the restaurant portrays Ottoman-style grandeur, from its 1200 maximum seating capacity to the lavish furniture in white, orange and green colours. The Arabic influence in the décor can be spotted in the golden and brown wooden embellishments. The marble floor adds a luminous effect to the softly lit open space, creating an Arabian nights’ setting where private group gatherings can be hosted comfortably. CZNBurak is the biggest restaurant in Downtown Dubai!

How often will you personally be in Dubai to oversee the restaurant?

The Dubai restaurant is a launching pad for the CZN Burak brand in the GCC and customers can expect to see a lot of me here. Whether at the restaurant, performing famously breath-taking shows, or on social media, sharing the magic and passion with my worldwide followers.

What are the signature dishes at CZN Burak Dubai and which is your favourite to prepare for guests?

Our menu features the lamb shank with kabseh tandoori, testi kebab with diced lamb, begendi kebab and belen-style lamb casserole. For our dessert menu, customers can expect a selection of popular Turkish sweets such as trilice, which is a Turkish-style milk cake, sultac and kunafa. All are served with a unique Chef Burak twist.

I have an intimate relationship with all the dishes I make, this is what I enjoy doing, and it’s hard to identify one favourite dish. Still, there’s something different about cooking them in huge sizes. For us, an XXXL dish represents family time and sharing a table with your loved ones. So that is what I love doing, sharing a meal with those I care about.

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A post shared by Czn Burak Dubai (@cznburakdubai)

Can you please describe your creative process when it comes to the creation of new dishes? Where do you get your inspiration from, especially when it comes to the presentation?

Life is full of inspiration, that is where I draw my new ideas from, you should never limit yourself, there’s always a source of inspiration to spark your creativity if you keep an open mind, learn from experiences and the people around you, and have the will to develop those ideas and work on them to become a reality.

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A post shared by Burak Özdemir (@cznburak)

You are widely known on social media for your meat videos. How does it feel to be a celebrity and what has this new-found fame taught you?

When you enjoy your craft, you feel compelled to share it with the world, and I feel so privileged that people from all around the world feel connected to what I do and enjoy it. It is very humbling to see people react and express their love for what I do, but at the same time, I feel that this platform has put more responsibility on me to shed light on what matters the most to me, which is my philanthropy work and putting a smile on the faces of people who come not only for food but for a great time.

You’ve encountered many celebrities thanks to your job, including His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Cristiano Ronaldo during your recent visit to Dubai. How did you feel when you met both of these people?

It was a privilege and an honour to host His Highness Sheikh Hamdan during our opening. This shows the support of the Dubai Government in general towards new businesses and their commitment to creating a prospering environment for investors. We’ve been incredibly honoured as well to host Cristiano Ronaldo among many other international and regional stars.

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A post shared by Czn Burak Dubai (@cznburakdubai)

What do restaurants have to do to stay relevant and ensure success during these unprecedented times for the industry?

We believe that maintaining specific standards will help restaurants stay relevant during these unprecedented times. It is essential for the F&B industry and businesses in general to better manage and control their resources and expenses without compromising the food and service quality.

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A post shared by Czn Burak Dubai (@cznburakdubai)

With the rise of influencers and bloggers, what are your options on this new digital world where everyone has suddenly become a food critic?

Each person has their own relationship with food, it’s personal and completely objective, there are people who love Turkish food and others who just prefer other cuisines, you can’t satisfy everyone, but you what you can do is create the best dishes you can, using the best ingredients and flavours you have, and entice them to try something new.

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A post shared by Burak Özdemir (@cznburak)

What do you do to stay current on new trends and how do you feel about creating dishes purely for Instagram?

I don’t believe in creating dishes purely for Instagram. After all, social media should be about showcasing what is there to experience, and what it is possible to create. Trends come and go, so chasing them is more of a tiring task. The secret is to stay creative, authentic and engage with people to nurture and maintain the bond with them.

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A post shared by Burak Özdemir (@cznburak)

Was there one person who impacted your decision to become a chef and who are your culinary inspirations? 

My grandparents represent a huge influence on me as a chef, particularly my grandmother, from whom I have developed this love for serving food in family sizes and creating dishes to be shared by groups of people, as my early experiences of cooking were all about family time and cherished moments with loved ones.

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David Tapley - Editor-in-Chief
As editor-in-chief of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publication, David is a self-proclaimed hip-hop aficionado, championing all things food, travel, street art, and streetwear across the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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