They popped the question over lunch, about a year ago. Freelance food writer Robyn Eckhardt of the blog Eating Asia, and professional food photographer David Hagerman brought up this event at Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, CA. We had met to celebrate their book deal for a Turkish cookbook (I coached Robyn on the book proposal), which sold to Rux Martin. What did I think, they ventured, about a Turkish workshop on food writing and food photography in 2015?
I had to think about it for, maybe 10 seconds. Let’s see:
- Picturesque village of Alcati, on the Aegean and famous for its stone houses and narrow streets. Check.
- Lots of Turkish food, which fuses Central Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Check.
- Near the beach and Ephesus. Check.
- Gorgeous accommodations, covered in Conde Nast Traveller and Travel & Leisure. Check.
- A chance to hang out with two professionals I enjoy and learn from them. Check.
It’s going to be a blast.
At our 3.5-day workshop, Dave — who shoots for Saveur and The New York Times, among other publications — will lead you from market to kitchen to classroom to develop your photography skills. Robyn — who writes a food column for the Wall Street Journal Asia and freelances for The New York Times — will welcome you with a talk about food and travel writing. I will cover food writing trends and how they affect you, and how to improve your writing using a variety of literary techniques. There are three instructors for only 10 participants, and private consultations with each student.
Here’s how Robyn explains her process as a food and travel writer:
“When I travel to write I allow my obsessions to lead me to a culinary story of a place. I keep my pre-departure research to a minimum. I make a note of dishes and ingredients common to the cuisine, especially those that are unfamiliar. I try to find the names of a few better- known dishes and ingredients in the local language (cookbooks can be a great resource). What I don’t do is read published culinary travel articles, or scour blogs related to where I’m going. I don’t want to be influenced.
“Once I’m on the ground I allow my obsessions to take over. I love markets anywhere in the world, a food market is the first place I go. I give myself plenty of time to stroll its aisles and poke around in its corners, and then to retrace my steps slowly, making note of whatever pops for me: the fish that every shopper seems to be buying, the shrines hung above every stall, the room occupied entirely by vendors selling suckling pig. By the time I leave I’ve got a few culinary nuggets about this place that interest me.”
Sound good? We’d love to see you in Alcati. Tickets are selling now.
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You might also like this feature by Dave about how to shoot at markets.