Be People

Taste the Madness: Bi Nevi Deli

Innovative, healthy, vegan and delicious... Two “sort of crazy” partners who set out with the dream of establishing a plant-based nutrition kitchen; We talked to Belkıs Boyacıgiller and Özge Şen about the importance of this type of nutrition and the point it has reached. 

It has been nearly six years since the first day of the opening of Bi Nevi Deli, of which you are the founders. How would you describe the evolution of your brand? 

The business could not have continued if there had not been a person among us in the beginning. In our freshman year, we had a cook and a full-time waiter. Since we do not come from the restaurant industry, we learned many things by experience on the road. We have evolved a lot over time. Our team has grown a lot, and we have grown with our business. 

Other than that, everything on the menu used to change almost daily. Now every few weeks we add and subtract things according to the season. In this way, both our team and our customers are happier in general. They can eat once and find what they like again. 

"If I don't eat meat, I won't be full" Do you believe that the perception of it is broken in more and more people?

Yes, it has started to break, but I guess the recipes should be shared more with stories based on education and experience.

"The Game Changers"  or "What the Health?” After only a few weeks, People who have watched the movie “What the Health?” movie and decided to give up meat, I think a lot of people still say "I'm hungry, I can't get enough, I'm losing muscle, it's very difficult.". Still, more and more ready-made vegan products are entering the market, albeit slowly. We started to see more vegan options on the menus. In our country, doctors and dietitians began to recommend plant-based nutrition. Magazines are now giving more space to these topics. Sports teachers and professional athletes tried to experience and even own this nutrition. As such examples multiply, as such nurturing becomes easier, and as more people experience it over a long period of time, we will see that perception break.

What is the story of the name Bi Nevi Deli?

Our original name was “Bi Nevi Karaköy”. While we were moving from Karaköy to Etiler, we were wondering whether to call it "Bi Nevi Etiler" or another name, Bi Nevi Deli appeared and we liked it. “They're kind of crazy. How to create these menus without using animal food?” That was what we wanted to express. Also in English “Deli”, “Delicatessen”; I mean deli. We also produce cheeses from cashews and almonds; Since we prepare delicatessen products consisting of ingredients such as gluten, chickpeas, carrots and beets, you can take them away. “kind of, sort of a Deli” We also liked it. It made sense both ways. 

What kind of music do you listen to while cooking? Can you post a couple of your favorite songs?

Belkis Boyacigiller:  These days, I usually listen to podcasts while I cook. “How I Built This with Guy Raz” or  "Broken Record" podcasts are my favorites when it comes to cooking. Musically, "Can't Cool Me Down" by Car Seat Headrest and "Ooh La La" by Run the Jewels. 

What is the main secret of Bi Nevi Deli's success not only in terms of a kitchen but also as a place?

When we first opened, we started to create a nice population with our Sunday brunches and nights with special menus. Then, when we moved to Etiler, we started by putting only one table inside, and many people sat next to each other at that table and became friends. We have become a place where they can eat alone comfortably. Like this; As people of Istanbul who are health conscious, love animals, go to sports, do yoga and meditation, support LGBT, and have a global perspective, we have come together in time in our little oasis in the back street of Etiler.

What does Bi Nevi Deli pay attention to in terms of environmental sustainability?

We really think about this issue at every stage. The most important for us; to collect local, seasonal ingredients as much as possible and to work with suppliers that we trust, who produce organically and without pesticides. We pay attention to environmental sustainability in every aspect of our products, from the preparation stage to the way they are served and packaging. I think the packaging part bothers us and many of our friends in the industry the most. There is really a lot of demand; If there were more environmental and sustainable materials, everyone would use them, but unfortunately, there are not many options in this regard in Turkey.

What do you think about the importance of herbal and raw nutrition in preventing diseases?

The benefits of eating consciously with as little processed, plant-based, seasonal foods as possible are really countless. 

Dr. Dean Ornish There is an expert called; She has championed the importance of a low-fat, vegan diet since 1990, and her work began to gain national attention years ago. Ornish in the 90s; He was the first to put forward an advanced lifestyle program that included a low-fat and cholesterol diet and yoga practices that he thought would prevent heart ailments. The program he implements strengthens health by reducing the risk of heart disease.

In addition, what we eat is as important as where they come from and how we eat them while eating them. In a happy way? With guilt? At a table with lots of sharing with family and friends? Or in front of the TV, in the dark? It's not just what you eat; With whom, where and how you eat is also important.

Can you tell a story about Bi Nevi Deli that you have a memory of? 

When we moved to Etiler in 2015-2016, our tarpaulin was black and white. At that time, an athlete from Beşiktaş Sports Club, after reading a book by Novak Djokovic, discovered how fast recovery was when eating gluten-free. This player both changed his diet and convinced his teammates. During the year, three or five foreign athletes became regulars at our restaurant and they became champions at the end of the year. 

You decide whether they became champions because they fed us or because they have a very special synergy, but after that year they could not win the championship again. Jokes aside, the motivation in this story is that professional athletes, who are responsible for taking care of their most valuable asset, their bodies, believe in the power in our food and recover faster than others' level of recovery from overtraining and injury. Think about it; You know that most football players line up at the famous steakhouse behind the corner of our restaurant, but these athletes choose to get the energy they need through us. They saw the future and believed in us early on! 

Is there a country cuisine whose innovations you especially follow?

It's not country cuisine, but it might be Los Angeles as a city. 

What are your favorites among the different sauces you have created?

Our favorite sauces change from time to time, but we can say that: 

Belkıs: These days, I use our Chimichurri sauce a lot because it goes very well with ingredients such as asparagus, kale, pepper, and tempeh. My biggest secret weapon in creating a delicious salad right in the kitchen.

Ozge: I use our fermented cashew cream cheese, which you can also use as a sauce, in salads and pasta sauces. Also these days, I'm obsessed with the cashew cream and dried fig tartine! 


The views expressed in this article aim to shed light on alternative studies and encourage conversation. These views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Be People and are for informational purposes only, even if they contain to some extent the advice of physicians and physicians (medical doctors). This article; It is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, and the information herein should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Belkis Boyacıgiller – Co-Founder of Bi Nevi Deli

After studying International Relations at the University of Southern California, Boyacıgiller did his master's degree in Business Administration at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, and after his master's degree, he turned to the field of healthy and herbal nutrition. Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University; rouxbe.comProfessional Plant Based Chef from Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Holistic Health Coach from Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and Fundamentals of Raw Cooking certificates from Matthew Kenney Culinary Belkis Boyacıgiller founded Bi Nevi Deli, a plant-based nutrition kitchen, with his partner Özge Şen in 2014. 

Özge Şen - Co-Founder of Bi Nevi Deli 

Özge Şen, who is a graduate of METU Economics, continued a brisk professional life by holding different positions in the finance sector for 13 years after moving to Istanbul. In September 2012, with the desire to make a new arrangement regarding the flow of life, he started his project research/development adventure with his entrepreneurial adventure. In July 2014, she met Belkıs Boyacıgiller and realized her favorite diet and lifestyle as the co-founder of Bi Nevi Deli. Sen, who attaches great importance to environmental sustainability, also defines himself as an animal lover.

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