Selected 2010

Mehmet Aksel

  • Current company MSA
  • Location Turkey
  • Industry Education & Talent

A man of fine tastes, Mehmet Aksel’s limitations in the kitchen led him to see early on that there was a dearth of highly-skilled restaurateurs and chefs in Turkey. In 2004 he started Mutfak Sanatlari Akademisi (MSA), which translates into The Academy of Culinary Arts. His vision was to meet the demands of the growing restaurant sector on the one hand and the country’s unemployed population. MSA is the only culinary school with both international and domestic accreditation, offering courses certified by the Turkish Ministry of Education.

Mehmet has taken a winding road to get where he is today. After dropping out of the University of Michigan, he returned to Istanbul to compete professionally in the equestrian and automotive racing circuits. After several jobs, he opened a restaurant and soon realized that he could have a greater impact on Turkey’s food industry.

MSA did not fully take shape until Mehmet landed corporate sponsors like the Turkish home appliance company, Vestel, provided equipment and cash for marketing and co-branding opportunities. In 2005, the Ministry of Education of Turkey approved MSA. Eager to raise the bar in Turkey once again, Mehmet achieved accreditation from the UK’s City and Guilds.

MSA Academy is not only creating better food; it is helping Turkey address a serious skills gap in an important and growing industry.

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