Thrusday, October 9, 2008
Life Section
Maria Sonnenberg

   You’d think Café Margaux’s Chef Erol Tugrul, a guy who can do such magic with meals, would be quite a prima donna. But in Tugrul’s case, it’s quite the opposite.  The talented executive chef of Brevard’s most lauded restaurant is quite modest and reticent of being in the limelight.
Although Tugrul prefers his dishes to do the talking for him, after some cajoling, the chef agreed to shed some light on his background.  Meet the talented artist who has been instrumental in making Café Margaux one of Florida’s top restaurants.
Tell me a little about your culinary background.
I got into cooking through a friend who had been in the business for 20 years.  After that, I trained under some  very accomplished European chefs and worked at several restaurants before ending up at Café Margaux.
   Your idea of a perfect meal?
Just having family and friends cooking together.  Just enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the food.
   Tell me about your family.
   My mother is German, and my father is Turkish.  I grew up with influences of both European and Mediterranean cooking.  My wife and in-laws are from West Virginia, so now I have some country cooking influences.
What is your signature dish?
   I don’t know if I actually have a signature dish, but being in Florida, I’d have to say something with fish.  At Café Margaux, we have several fish specials a night.  We try to use mostly locally caught fish, but occasionally we have some overnighted  from Hawaii.
What couldn’t you live without in the kitchen?
   I couldn’t live without a good food processor.
   Favorite herbs?
   I like to use fresh thyme.  It seems to go with almost everything, and it has a fresh flavor, and is not overpowering.
   Two things in your fridge at home?
   Cheese and onions.
Favorite Beverage?
   Fresh squeezed orange juice.
Favorite dessert?
   Anything made from quality chocolate.
Famous guest(s) you would enjoy inviting to dinner?
   I’m not a star-struck person.  Just someone who is funny and down to earth.