How I Travel: Chef Burak Özdemir – aka CZN Burak – talks his favourite foodie destinations

WT Writer
May 5, 2021

Turkish chef, restaurateur and social media sensation CZN Burak (@cznburak) shares his favourite travel experiences.

Starting his culinary career in Turkey, Burak Özdemi now boasts six restaurants in his home country. But in early 2021 chef-turned-social-media-star opened his first eatery on foreign soil – in Downtown Dubai, nonetheless.

CZN Burak, named after his nickname and Instagram handle, is located on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard and boasts some 150 different dishes. All this at just 27 years old.

Despite his age, Burak has still had plenty of time in the kitchen, starting cooking with his grandad at the tender age of ten. Now, many years, recipes and destinations on, he talks to World Traveller Middle East about his culinary journeys around the globe.

Paris restaurant french street
Paris is the first place Chef Burak Özdemir is keen to travel to. Credit | Pixabay

The first place on my post-pandemic travel list is…

Paris. The European culture, nice weather, and the fine cuisine makes this a trip I’m happy to wait for.

My favourite foodie-destinations are….

I cook Middle Eastern food, so I love travelling to the Middle East where the culture and flavours inspire me.

The thing I love most about travelling is…

As a chef, I love discovering new places and flavours. I believe that the local culture plays a huge role in shaping the way people prepare and eat food. I enjoy learning about a country through its cuisine.

I find the best restaurants on holiday by….

My sister makes the best recommendations when it comes to dining abroad. She is a master of locating new and unique experiences.

Dubai beach burj al arab
Chef Burak Özdemir set up his restaurant in Dubai in early 2021. Credit | Pixabay

The stamp in my passport I’m most proud of is…

United Arab Emirates. The warmth and the amazing welcome I received here makes this place feel like home. I’ve always wanted to open my first restaurant outside of Turkey in Dubai, and it has been an amazing experience.

I keep myself entertained when travelling by…

When on the plane, I enjoy playing the PlayStation, as it makes the time go faster.

The country that inspired me the most was …

Czech Republic and Portugal. It’s true what they say about travel; it builds your character. I’ve had very rich experiences in both these countries, not only as a chef but on a personal and cultural level. I learnt a lot about myself and gained new perspectives.

Panorama of Prague’s Old Town
Czech Republic and Portugal are a source of inspiration to Özdemir. Credit | Pixabay

If you visit Turkey, you must try…

CZNBurak Restaurants! We have sixin Turkey, so make sure you pass by.

My favourite dish to cook is…

Kunafeh. It’s a traditional dessert which we share with many other Middle Eastern countries.

When I travel, I pack…

I consider myself a light packer. I don’t like to travel with many things. But recently I always make sure to travel with a hygiene kit, to be safe.

See more from How I Travel series here, from Robert Irwin to Sarah A. Abdallah.