Following in father’s cooking footsteps

Inspired by his father, a Dunedin man has opened his own Turkish restaurant.

After months of planning, Mustafa Boztas opened Huzur Turkish Kebab on George St last week.

In 2000, his father, Ramazan Boztas, emigrated to New Zealand and worked at what was then known as Turkish Kebab House on George St and Trojan Turkish Cafe, until retiring last year.

"He made the best kebabs in his time and he was very popular with the university students. They all remember him because Dad served them when they came to get kebabs late at night," he said.

Mr Boztas said his father taught him everything he needed to know.

"It was a father to son job sort of thing and I’m really glad he taught us the recipes, ingredients and how to maintain a good quality.

"I used to think he made the best kebab in Dunedin, so I am going to try to beat him and make the best one in New Zealand," he said.

After spending nearly 14 months on an extended holiday in Turkey after Covid-19 locked him out of the country, Mr Boztas did not know what he was going to do when he returned.

The previous owner of the Turkish restaurant rang him and asked whether he would be interested in buying the premises.

"At first I ignored him but after that he rang me back and I gave it a lot of thought because it is a big thing going into business.

"There were things I needed to understand but I thought, ‘I am going to take the risk and go for it’.

"So, once I arrived back in New Zealand we had a chat about it and it all started from there," he said.

Mustafa Boztas said his father taught him everything he needed to know. "I used to think he made...
Mustafa Boztas said his father taught him everything he needed to know. "I used to think he made the best kebab in Dunedin, so I am going to try to beat him and make the best one in New Zealand." PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
It was Mr Boztas’ father who convinced him to take the step into business.

He took the premises over about three months ago, rebranded it and finally opened last Saturday.

Mr Boztas was the first to admit he had no business experience.

"I didn’t have any ... but I’ve discovered it is so easy to operate a business with online tools.

"You can leave it to your accountant and we will do the hard work in the store," he said.

Although it was only early days, he already had expansion plans.

"My future plan is to expand and think about food trucks around the South Island to attend concerts," Mr Boztas said.

The local Turkish community had been very supportive of his new venture.

"It is all about paying it forward and we help each other.

"This week I was low on pita bread stock so I rang Trojan up and he dropped some pita breads down for me," he said.

riley.kennedy@odt.co.nz

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