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 ...
Brandon GRANIER Editor
The study of literature brought me to France, and in some ways my love for and interest in gastronomy is, to this day, inextricably bound to the literary. It was in Paris in the early 2000s that I first experienced the heights of gourmandize at such temples as L’Ambroisie and Ledoyen under Christian Le Squer. The gradual development of my palate coincided with questions that arose about the culinary gestures of haute cuisine, and it may be accurate to characterize my orientation towards gastronomy as an attempt to think the gourmandize aspects in their relation to semiotics, rather than each element distinctly. Sensation and ideas, are they dichotomous or bound up, and if so, how precisely? Such questions give me food for thought. Indeed, my lifelong preoccupation might be found in the problematic of interpretation, and in 2014 I finished my Ph.D. dissertation in Comparative Literature on the tensions between deconstruction and hermeneutics at UC-Irvine, a former bastion of deconstructive criticism. Like my colleagues at Gastromondiale, I seek to understand how terroir- and tradition-based haute gastronomy can flourish in a globalized market that has increasingly encouraged homogenized repertoires. My travels are aimed at finding the acme of what is developing in cultures with deep-rooted traditions, most significantly in Japan, China, France and Italy but also recently in India, Thailand and Greece. Perhaps akin to Olivier Roellinger or the narrator of À la recherche du temps perdu, I possess an insatiable wanderlust to experience the essence of foreign places, and cuisine is one of the most satisfying ways to approach this tantalizing promise. To this end, my studies of foreign languages are essential to how I evaluate cuisine, and I conceive of gastronomy as a lifelong pursuit of tasting, travel, language acquisition, and dialogue. With a more modest budget for wine than I would prefer, I find myself gravitating towards the question of how it can elevate cuisine, and I am a diehard apologist for thinking about the ideal accord mets et vins. The formative dining experiences of my life have been at L’Ambroisie and Ledoyen (under Le Squer) in Paris, Saison in San Francisco, Sushisho Masa in Tokyo, Etxebarri in Spain, Jade Dragon in Macau, Jin Sha in Hangzhou, and Pepe in Grani near Napoli.
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?
Robert BROWN Editor
When I was born, I was destined to dine. When I was a child, my parents began collecting fine wine, ate the food in France of Fernand Point and Raymond Oliver, and often took my brother and me to New York from our house in Western Massachusetts to New York to eat in the best restaurants. When I started my rare books and posters business in 1970, I made (and still make) frequent trips to Europe with my wife where we traveled the length and breadth of France and Italy (and often Japan) to visit and revisit the great and interesting restaurants. While obtaining a Master’s degree at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, I did my research in mass communication and mass and popular culture. It shaped my unique way in writing about and conceptualizing gastronomy. I look at, and keep a constant eye on, how restaurant gastronomy in particular has evolved over the past 50 years in terms of innovation and change; the ways in which it is portrayed in mass and social media and their effects on dining preferences and tastes; the influence of new technology on creativity; the role that access to capital and restaurants as economic entities in influencing the state of dining; how people make decisions of where and how to spend their time and money on dining; the result of gastronomy moving from an elite to a mass phenomenon; and the myriad of real and conceptual matters that come into my mind on an almost-daily basis. This experience has made me vigorously represent the autonomy and well-being of my fellow diners, an aspect that is inexorably being diminished and thus taking its toll on integrity and connoisseurship. How all of this affects my gastronomic opinions and decision-making is apparent in what I have contributed, and will further contribute, to Gastromondiale.
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 KATZ is the managing director of Varuna Capital, an investment firm focused on the global aquaculture industry. He is also a novelist and lives on the island of Kauai.
David KINCH is the chef-proprietor of the three-Michelin-starred-restaurant, Manresa.
Mert OZKESKIN holds a Ph.D. in MEMS/microfabrication systems and is currently a senior staff engineer at FormFactor.
Alexis PAPAZOGLOU is a philosophy lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Atahan TUZEL works in telecommunications for Nokia US and is the author of books of poetry: Λ0[d.s.] - Kare - VII.
Illustrations by Daniel WILSON
Graphic Design by Yannick ESAJAS