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?