An introduction from Uğur Vata

Portrait of Ugur Vata

Hello, or should I say merhaba!

I’m from Turkey and was lucky to grow up among people who appreciated good food. My mother was trained by a professional chef and my father was an exporter who dealt in dried fruits and travelled all over the world. Long before such foods arrived in shops in Izmir, Turkey, he introduced us to European cheeses, salamis, chocolate and even pork.

I first came to Suffolk in 1983 with the Scouts and again the following year. I came back again when I was 20 speaking no English and with no experience of restaurants decided to stay. I studied English at Suffolk College and furthered my education in Catering and Business at the Colchester Institute and City College Norwich.

I opened The Galley in Ipswich back in 1994 and in Woodbridge ten years later. In 2008 I took The Galley back home and opened a restaurant in Port Göcek, Fethiye, Turkey.

Food is my lifelong passion and the good habits I learned from my family, shopping seasonally and sourcing locally, have stayed with me. It is my belief that virtually every acclaimed and successful restaurant shares these values; they are undoubtedly the hallmark of good food. Our emphasis is on good ingredients that are well-cooked and beautifully and simply presented. I will not compromise on quality. I buy nothing prepared, it is all freshly made in each restaurant.

People often wonder how to pronounce my name, especially as there’s a funny upside-down hat on the letter ğ. This makes it a soft or silent g so Uğur is actually pronounced “Oower”. Think Carry On movie and you’re on the right track!

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