A Turkish Cookbook


All Arto der Haroutunian’s twelve cookbooks written in the 1980s became classics; it was his belief that the rich culinary tradition of the Middle East is the main source of many of our Western cuisines and his books were intended as an introduction to that tradition. A Turkish Cookbook is regarded as the seminal work on the subject but has been out of print for over twenty five years. It is a lovingly written recipe book packed with traditional stories, poems and sayings. Turkey is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations, and while famous for its scenic beauty and ancient sites, it undoubtedly owes much of its new found popularity to the quality and character of its food. With his inimitable talent for combining fascinating anecdotes with mouth-watering recipes, Arto der Haroutunian brings to life the ancient culinary traditions of this huge and varied country. You can recreate the wonderful fish and seafood dishes, the exotic oriental pastries, experiment with different types of kebabs or prepare a selection of meze. At once a practical cookbook and a fascinating read, A Turkish Cookbook is a splendid introduction to one of the world’s great cuisines.

Every one of the twelve cookbooks Arto der Haroutunian wrote became a classic; his thoughtful, erudite writing helped to explain to westerners the subtlety, complexity and diversity of Middle Eastern and North African cooking.

He was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1940 and grew up in the Levant but came to England with his parents as a child and remained here for most of his life.  He studied architecture at Manchester University and established a career designing restaurants, clubs and hotels. In 1970, in partnership with his brother, he opened the first Armenian restaurant in Manchester which eventually became a successful chain of six restaurants and two hotels.

Given his passion for cooking it was a natural progression that he should then begin to write cookery books as they combined his love of food with his great interest in history and culture. It was his belief that the rich culinary tradition of the Middle East is the main source of many of our Western cuisines and his books were intended as an introduction to that tradition. Arto der Haroutunian was also a painter of international reputation who exhibited all over the world. His other interests included composing music and translating Turkish, Arab, Persian and Armenian authors. He was a true polymath. He died in 1987 at the untimely age of 47. He is survived by his wife and son who still live in Manchester.