Chef Maksut Aşkar of Neolokal - Biography


October 2018

At Neolokal, Maksut Aşkar mines his Turkish heritage to share and celebrate the region’s storied and complex culinary history. Aşkar knew from a young age that he would pursue hospitality. He studied tourism and hotel management in high school and then university. Throughout his studies, he worked in an array of venues—jazz club, a café in a high-end clothing store, and a nightclub. His eye for design led him to consulting for food-based modern art exhibits and Turkish hotel brands.

After opening and running restaurants LilBitz and Multi, Aşkar opened Sekiz Istanbul on the ground floor of 8 Istanbul Suites. His work gained attention locally and on Eater Istanbul. Sekiz Istanbul has since closed, but Aşkar attention has focused on his fine-dining restaurant Neolokal, which opened in the Salt Galata Museum in 2014. He won Time Out Istanbul’s “Chef of the Year” the same year for his modern Anatolian cuisine with roots in the ingredients and flavors of Aşkar’s mother’s cooking.
He fosters local talent by teaching in Özyeğin University’s tourism and hotel management department and is an active member of Turkey’s Slow Food chapter. To promote Anatolian cuisine, Aşkar hosts a series of chef collaboration dinners in Istanbul and abroad and has spoken at Food on the Edge in Galway, Ireland.