Chef Burak Mil works with students in the new Culinary Innovation Lab at USFSM, bringing his special global perspective to students learning the intricacies of chefs’ day-to-day responsibilities. He joined USF Sarasota-Manatee in July, 2013, to spend one year as a visiting professor. To Chef Mil, cooking is an expression of self. Most of the time he grants his students the freedom to choose what types of dishes to prepare because he believes creativity in the kitchen is a gateway to discovering one’s own personality.
Chef Mil earned a bachelor’s in Tourism and Hotel Management from Mersin University, Turkey, in 2003. After graduating from college, he obtained a Master’s of Science in Tourism and Hotel Management and a PhD in Tourism and Hospitality Management. During his tenure at Adnan Menderes University in Turkey, he was a lecturer in the Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Department. He also won a great deal of culinary awards at international gastronomy festivals and in cooking contests organized by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies with his culinary students. Chef Mil has published articles and conference papers on gastronomy, hospitality and tourism management and research methods. He also conducts research in gastronomy, space perception, research methods and tourist satisfaction. His professional experience includes working at international hotels owned by Hilton, Marriott, Renaissance, Miramare and Princess Group.
When he was fifteen years old, Mil began studying tourism at his Turkish high school. Since the school required him to perform an internship as part of the course, he decided to apply at a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, as a waiter. While on the job, the human resources specialist looked at him and said “you must be a cook.” He was completely shocked because the thought had never crossed his mind. At the time he accepted the role as chef only for his internship, but to this day, he has never thought of abandoning it.
Mil believes further education is the foundation for a better life. This is why, in his spare time, he enjoys researching history and psychology. He also does his best to help others see that education broadens the mind. “It may seem unique for a chef to have a PhD in Tourism and Hospitality Management since it isn’t important when cooking,” said Chef Mil. “But it is important to have and encourage other chefs to have their master’s or PhD degrees in culinary, gastronomy or tourism and hospitality management.”
Mil says he always desires to provide significance through his teaching, cooking, or anything else he attempts. “The real goal for me is to create value to my students whether tangible or intangible.”
Chef Mil’s areas of responsibility at USFSM include Introduction to Food Production, Event Management and Introduction to Hospitality. He loves sharing his experiences with students and inspiring them. He hopes to create a team for culinary competitions through the World Association Chef Society (WACS), a non-political professional organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the culinary standards of global cuisines through education, training and professional development of its international membership.