In this article Zafer Yenal & Michael Kubiena explore the dynamic sphere of restaurant and food culture in Istanbul by focusing on the changing nature of culinary work. Alongside the emergence of a new breed of chefs from diverse social and culinary backgrounds in Istanbul during the last two decades, new culinary interpretations and appropriations are appearing with regard to what is signified by authenticity in culinary products and practices. Here localism unfolds as the main trend and theme. This tendency is further strengthened by the formation of a new political economy of taste in Istanbul, which is defined by a double movement. On the one hand, there is a nascent transition in culinary work from craftsmanship to a more specialized professionalism, a process that invokes significant economic and social tensions. On the other, a new eating public is emerging, a more cosmopolitan foodie group, with more ambition, desire, and motivation to try culinary products that are out of the ordinary.