Upstream thinking




Musa Dağdeviren is one of Turkey’s most influential Chefs. But Musa is not just a Chef. He’s a food archeologist. And his restaurant Çiya, in Istanbul, is a food museum. Going to Çiya feels like visiting all these different towns in Turkey. All at once.

But when Musa opened his restaurant Çiya Kebap, in the 80s, foods such as the kebab were being ridiculed in movies. It was perceived as food consumed by people without culture. This profiling disturbed Musa. He knew it was stupid, so he had to do something about it. So Musa had this simple, but genius idea. To play classical music in the restaurant.

Suddenly, people from all sorts of social backgrounds started to come to Çiya. They would eat a kebab listening to Carmina Burana or Chopin. But here’s the real kicker. Musa would often see them discussing culture while eating kebab.

This is upstream thinking. When faced with a problem, challenge the context in ways no-one else has thought of.

A great lesson for us all in the communication business.


P.S. This piece was originally posted in my Nishi weekly newsletter where I share colorful thoughts on copywriting + loads of helpful resources and interesting stories. Subscribe to my newsletter here.

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