What fun it is to make new friends, amp up photo skills, take a cooking class and eat way too much Turkish food. That’s what I did at a food photography and writing workshop in the cobbled Aegean town of Alacati (pronounced Ala-CHAT-ee), in Western Turkey near Izmir. Food photographer Dave Hagerman led the photo instruction. Food and travel writer Robyn Eckhardt organized the workshop and gave a talk on her research processes, and I instructed on food writing technique and trends.
Robyn and Dave set their workshop in Turkey because they love to travel there and because they are producing a cookbook on Turkish food. Robyn speaks Turkish, which helped when we visited a huge outdoor market in the town of Tire, armed with cameras after instruction from Dave. He encouraged students to take photos of people, not just food, and always with their permission.
Robyn cooked dinner for the students the first night, a courageous move, I thought. She made a yogurt dip with spinach, a dried fava bean dip with dill, a spicy tomato dip, her own homemade bread, fish simmered in tomato sauce, okra with lemon and tomato, and risotto with wheat berries, pumpkin, and purple basil. There were also local cheeses and bakery cookies flavored with mastic, orange and almond for dessert.
One of the things I liked best about Turkish food is its mildness. While most dishes employ spices and herbs, they don’t take your head off. Instead, everything tastes like home cooking. And indeed, one workshop dinner took place al fresco, next to a winery, at a chef’s home. Now, a few more photos:
It was Robyn and Dave’s second food photography workshop, and plans for more are in the works, in Turkey and elsewhere. If you’d like to find out about the next one, leave a comment here. Thanks again to Dave and Robyn for inviting me on this fantastic adventure. And thanks to the students (and one accompanying husband) for sharing their terrific photos.