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St Kilda Chef Creating A Stir 

St Kilda resident Murat Ovaz is the chef/owner of hit Turkish restaurant Yagiz in South Yarra. They’ve just celebrated their first birthday and have quickly established Yagiz as a restaurant to watch in 2019.

We fired a few questions at Murat.

Congratulations on your 1st birthday. What was the highlight from the first year at Yagiz?

Having a successful first year is already a big achievement. A few highlights, all related to my customers. It is always nice to see our regular couple coming to Yagiz once a week. We had a few very happy well-known customers like Josh Frydenberg, Magda Szubanski, Carrie Bickmore, Matt Preston, Jacques Reymond, just to name a few. But most importantly, to please my ex-boss and mentor Colin Fassnidge was a real treat for me – and I know he is a no BS kind of guy! Colin has been really supportive and I can never thank him enough for all he taught me in his kitchen and as a man.

Tell us a bit about your background as a chef?

I did not plan to be a chef, it just happened that the first job I got when I run away from school was in the kitchen of a 5 stars hotel. I started at the bottom of the chain and ended up working in some of the top restaurants in Turkey. I was even the private chef of one of Turkey’s richest men for a while. When I arrived in Australia, I started all over again and I actually started cooking Turkish food. After working in a few restaurants in Newcastle, I ended up working with Colin Fassnidge for 4 years. The best experience anyone can have. Then I came to Melbourne and after a year here, I opened my own restaurant.

What sets Yagiz apart?

Our motto is “Fine food no fuss.” Our food is very different and original, modern Turkish cuisine, Turkish food with a twist. I am proud to cook food from my country. Yagiz’s settings are elegant, we offer good food at reasonable prices, we have got a great sommelier who has selected really interesting wines. Our staff is dedicated to good service. I am proud of what we do.

What dish are you most proud of?

Hard to say… The full lamb for sure – nothing better than seeing the look on my customers’ face when we bring out the lamb to be carved in front of them. A room stopper! The duck cigar is the most popular dish – with the calamari – and I like it. And of course, my baklava which is just sweet and sticky enough.

What’s your vision for the restaurant in the next year?

Yagiz has only been around for a year, there is a lot to do! Consolidate. Improve our high standards – to be honest, I was surprised and of course, thrilled to be number 44 most delicious restaurant in Victoria in the Sunday Herald Sun.

Being a St Kilda resident, where’s your favourite place to eat locally?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to go out for lunch and dinner as I work but I enjoy breakfast at Sorsi E Morsi, some great seafood at Claypots on a Sunday night and the interesting food at Uncle.


22 Toorak Road

3141 South Yarra

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