Alongside the emergence of a new breed of chefs from diverse social and culinary backgrounds in Istanbul during the last two decades, new culinary interpretations and appropriations are appearing with regard to what is signified by authenticity in culinary products and practices. Here localism unfolds as the main trend and theme. This tendency is further strengthened by the formation of a new political economy of taste in Istanbul, which is defined by a double movement. On the one hand, there is a nascent transition in culinary work from craftsmanship to a more specialized professionalism, a process that invokes significant economic and social tensions. On the other, a new eating public is emerging, a more cosmopolitan foodie group, with more ambition, desire, and motivation to try culinary products that are out of the ordinary.
Culinary Work at the Crossroads in Istanbul
Zafer Yenal has taught sociology at Boğaziçi University since 2000. His research interests include the sociology of consumption, food studies, rural sociology, and historical sociology. His most recent book, Bildiğimiz Tarımın Sonu (The End of Agriculture as We Know It) (with Çağlar Keyder, published by İletişim Yayinlari, 2013), focuses on agricultural transformations in Turkey since the 1980s. He is currently the editor of New Perspectives on Turkey and a member of the editorial board of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies.
Michael Kubiena worked as a human resources and organization consultant in Southeastern and Central Europe before coming to Istanbul six years ago for an extended sabbatical, during which he completed an MA in cultural studies at Sabancı University. His research interests center on the intersection of food and art, museum practices, and sociocultural questions. He spends a good deal of his free time cooking and eating out. He lives in Istanbul.
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Zafer Yenal, Michael Kubiena; Culinary Work at the Crossroads in Istanbul. Gastronomica 1 February 2016; 16 (1): 63–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2016.16.1.63
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