Our lead editor, Vedat Milor, and Hedone Restaurant's owner-chef, Mikael Jonsson, launched Gastroville (their collective blog on gastronomy) in December 2004 and co-wrote the following statement:
“Our driving motivation in creating this blog is to provide a discriminating evaluation of restaurants in different categories/price points to maximize dining value for distinguishing and caring gourmets. Our own serious dining out experiences go back about 20 years, and although we have been privileged to have had countless meals at the very pinnacle of gastronomic temples, we also constantly search out the informal places that excel in simple preparation of high quality ingredients. We both find the excellence of raw materials and ingredients of all sorts to be one of the most important building blocs of good cooking and a fundamental heritage of Western cultural-gastronomic tradition which is necessary to safeguard. Unfortunately few restaurant critics pay sufficient attention to the quality of ingredients and are far too easily influenced by the use of the so-called luxury ingredients such as truffles and caviar even though they may be of poor quality. In contrast, one purpose of this site is to be evangelical about the quality of raw materials when evaluating individual dishes and to emphasize the essential role of fresh ingredients in cooking.
Clearly gastronomy in general and, restaurant criticism in particular, is not an easy subject. It takes a lifetime to fully understand and appreciate good things and to develop a discriminating palette. The doctrine of ingredients, which is one of the fundamentals in understanding food, has never been documented with sufficient rigor. It would be preposterous to claim that one can learn all there is to learn about good food and ingredients and make absolute statements. On the other hand, as both of us are in a constant and often rewarding search to seek out best ingredients and hidden gems in the world of restaurants, we would like to share our discoveries with the reader. In short, by creating this blog, we want to:
- document the discoveries made through our constant odyssey in the world of gastronomy;
- share the knowledge and experience and receive feedback from the readers;
- adopt a fully independent approach and attempt to develop reliable and rigorous criteria when evaluating restaurants.
That is to say that, we will not shy away from criticizing any underperforming star chef or a celebrated restaurant. Conversely, we will extol the virtues of those who labor hard and seek perfection in ingredients and search for their own styles rather than copying other people's creations. Both of us are excited about the journey on which we are about to embark, and this is a journey without a final destination. It is an odyssey where the process is all that counts, and hopefully interaction and communication will render this process mutually rewarding.”
Vedat Milor parted ways with Mikael Jonsson, but the latter still remains the most extraordinary palate he has encountered in his quarter of a century of “dining out” adventures. The statements above still hold true. The aim is now to take this “common goal” one step further in Gastromondiale. As the name reveals the intention, this site has had a far reaching ambition to survey the restaurant scene in as many countries as possible. The other variable is that, since the launching of Gastroville, Milor's esteem for the restaurant guides has plummeted. Unfortunately, the most trustworthy guide, Guide MICHELIN, while trying to become global, has given far too many concessions to gastro fads and to marketability concerns. While their judgements on the dining scene in France still carry some weight, their other guides and rankings have little merit. This credibility vacuum in the field of restaurant and also wine reviews is now being addressed by a host of bloggers, some of whom are quite reliable in my eyes. This is especially the case when the blogger does not ask personal favours, is incognito in the restaurant and does not let his personal like or dislike for the chef color his or her judgment. With these guiding principles in mind, the ultimate motive of Gastromondiale is to create a reliable and comprehensive guide to dining and wining. Given this aim, Besim Hatinoglu joins Vedat Milor as an editor to publish his regular reviews and articles. Vedat Milor's past articles and reviews are also published with their original publication dates.