Vedat MILOR Co-Lead Editor
Since early childhood, I have taken for granted the abundance and availability of good food on an everyday basis. This was a time when good quality fish, meat and seafood were available for very reasonable prices and before the World Bank (where I worked in the early 90s) had started to corrupt Turkish agriculture to suit the interests of multinational agro-businesses. I was also lucky that I grew up with my paternal grandparents. My grandmother, from Konya, was a serious home cook. Upon coming to the US for graduate studies I was both awed and distressed by two things. First, as I unscientifically observed, Americans ate more industrial chicken than anybody else on earth. Second, and particularly at the International House dormitory at UC Berkeley, getting decent food was as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, Chez Panisse came to my rescue and was an eye opener for me in the sense that I had never thought that one could eat great food in restaurants (even to this day, the best of the Turkish cuisine can only be experienced in households). About the same time, I also discovered the taste of decent, affordable Southern Rhone wines at Kermit Lynch. I realized the true meaning of the cliché that the sum is greater than its parts, as in when wine is carefully matched with food. Next came a half year fellowship in France intended for the study of French Economic Planning. Yet, in practice, I primarily studied how to dine at the Michelin starred restaurants, including 30 or so meals at the best restaurant of the time, Robuchon’s Jamin (when there still was a 140 FF lunch menu, equivalent to about 15 USD given the exchange rate in the 1980s). The rest is history. Once bitten by the lure of exquisite eating, combined with nostalgia for my country and my childhood, I developed an obsession with good food. To this day, I love driving to the middle of nowhere in rural Spain or Italy in search of 20 day old lamb from the Churra breed, or “culatello di zibello”, or “gamberi di San Remo” or “gambas Denia”, or ...
Besim HATINOGLU Co-Lead Editor
My interest in gastronomy developed relatively recently. When I began my PhD, my primary passions were photography and cinema. I pivoted to food when I began trying to impress my then-girlfriend (now wife) by preparing exotic dinners for her. When we crossed the pond for further studies, I found that my skills in the kitchen increased as a result of not wanting to venture outside in the deep New England snow. I also began following different chefs--reading their books and trying to execute their recipes. And when we finally returned to London, my interest in food became a full-blown passion, thanks to this city's proximity to Europe's gastronomic centres.
Like many others, I was initially enchanted by molecular cuisine and avant-garde trends, and as an extension of that preference, I was very critical of French classical cuisine for its lack of fireworks. A series of dining experiences altered my thinking and I am now enamoured with more traditional cooking styles. I am not particularly interested in micro aspects of gastronomy (for example, describing the detailed textures and flavours in a dish). Instead I prefer to focus on the macro and systemic aspects of the food world, and by this I mean general trends and themes. I also enjoy applying an interdisciplinary perspective to food--bringing political philosophy and other disciplines to the table.
I fully expect my opinions about gastronomy to continue evolving over time. But regardless of any changes in my outlook, I know that I will continue to meet interesting people and make lifelong friendships through a shared passion for food. Is there anything better than engaging in a topic you love with people who you share the same interest?
Gokhan ATILGAN works for J.P. Morgan Chase and is the co-lead editor of Mizanplas, a Turkish website on gastronomy.
Carola Sitjas BOSCH teaches Sommelier at CETT (University of Barcelona) and is co-writer of the gastronomic blog, tastatast.cat.
Rogelio ENRIQUEZ was previously involved in the wine trade and is a regular contributor to the Spanish newspapers and magazines.
David KINCH is the chef-proprietor of the three Michelin starred restaurant, Manresa.
Illustrations by Daniel WILSON
Graphic Design by Yannick ESAJAS