Here we glimpse behind the scenes into the life of Turkish member, mother of 3, Merve Toksoz, a former psychologist, who has an eye for art, a stomach for gourmet cuisine and the legs for ski slopes anywhere in the world.
With an entrepreneurial husband involved in chocolate, wine, juice and pharmaceuticals to cure the excesses of the former, I´m not surprised you snapped him when you were 18.
Ha! Ha! I met my husband through his cousin who was studying with me at university and we got married when I was 20.
What was it like to work with stroke victims´ families when you were a psychologist in Istanbul?
It was very challenging. Helping patients and their relations adjust psychologically to life post stroke requires a lot of patience and empathy from all parties.
How have you adapted to life here in Madrid?
My husband fell in love with Madrid since he started to come regularly on business in 2014. After our third child was born in 2017 we decided to move the whole family to this sunny city and since then we´ve thoroughly enjoyed the fun and peace Madrid has to offer.
What´s your secret Madrid?
We´ve always lived in La Moraleja so to be honest, whenever I´m in the city centre everything seems pretty exciting! However, I love El Invernadero restaurant that focuses heavily, though not exclusively, on plant-based cuisine in Calle Ponzano and Sally Hambleton the exquisite florist in Gabriel Lobo. (Editor’s Note: having checked both these out I can verify that Merve really does have her finger on the Madrid pulse!)
How do you support your husband professionally?
I´m now more involved in the HR department of the Spain office and outside work I ensure my husband´s work stresses are counteracted by plenty of listening and time for holidays and friends and family.
You grew up near the slopes and started skiing as a child, what is it like to ski together as a family now?
Sking altogether is our biggest joy during the year and we all look forward to these holidays enormously. Courchevel is our favorite ski resort but we also love to try out new slopes and resorts every year, including Japan!
What similarities and differences do you see between the Turkish and Spanish people?
Both nationalities are very family-orientated and talking is a national pastime! Turkish people are a bit more impassioned and impatient. I see Spaniards as being a bit more laid back.
You are a keen gastro travelling family, tell us about some of the restaurants in Madrid and Spain that have caught your attention.
Diverxo – undoubtably the king of innovative cuisine, Kappo – for its daily changing traditional Japanese menu, Sala de Especie – exceptional creative tapas restaurant in Madrid. Restaurante Sala in the Sierra de Guadarrama for the best family weekend lunch (complete with kids´area) and the third best restaurant in the world (!): Asador Etxebarri Atxondo with its long waiting list in Vizcaya.
What sports do you practise to counter balance your gourmet preferences?
I have a personal trainer and twice a week I do interval training. In addition I love yoga and I try to walk for an hour a day.
You are keen on contemporary art – are there any Spanish artists that have caught your attention?
We´re still on a huge learning curve when it comes to art in Spain and we´re always keen to learn more about young artists – Manolo Valdés is a big one!
If you had to emigrate to a desert island what item would you have to bring with your (except people and digital devices)
A book about someone who survived in an island!
If you could wave a magic wand what would you do next once your youngest daughter is older?
I would try to stop global warming and forest fires.