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 ...