A cook is defined in the folk tradition as someone who is skillful, capable of cooking delicious food and who has a wide reputation for cleanliness. Cooks generally prepare meals for ceremonies and rituals such as engagements, weddings and funerals.
In conservative regions, the cook is usually a woman and may go by different names, such as yemekçi (food provider), asganaci (a person who feeds others) and keyveni. Dishwashers and assistants help the cook to prepare the food for ceremonies.
The cook informs the person planning to hold a feast of the necessary materials needed for each person. She supervises the amount and the quality of the materials bought for the festivities and gives general advice. She takes charge of the cleaning and preparation of the food, such as meat, vegetables and cereals, and also controls the stoves and cauldrons. She does the cooking as well as serves.
The village of Mengen in the province of Bolu invariably takes pride of place in books about Turkish cooking. It is no exaggeration to say that most professional cooks are from Mengen. A cooks’ festival is held annually in the village, and there is also a cookery high school which contributes to the training of even more skilled cooks.