Table culture in the Ottoman Palace had unique status. Almost every dish had a different chef: head of soup (çorbacıbaşı
), head of helva (helvacıbaşı
) and so on. At banquets and Ramadan
), cushions were laid out on a textile that covered the floor. In the middle of the cushions a copper, silver or gilded-metal tray was placed upon which were put spoons of turtle-shell, coral, ivory or bone. The dishes followed a traditional order: the first dish was soup served in individual bowls; a main dish of red meat or chicken would follow that was served in very large metal vessels with lids (to keep the food warm), known as kuşhane
. The main dish was accompanied by drinks and sweets such as zerde
were served as the last course.