Saturday, March 28, 2009

Who I Am

I am a New York City based professional modern dancer and teacher, with biology and culinary degrees, and an unwavering interest in cooking and the culture of food. My American mother and Turkish father raised me and my sister between two cultures: my mother, a curious and talented cook, embraced not only my father's family and friends, but his country's food. It was at our family table, and through frequent and appreciated trips to Turkey, that my culinary palate was formed.

My professional life has expanded on those early travels, and has taken me to nearly forty countries. I danced and toured for over seven years with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, where I quickly learned that investigating a society's culinary treasures (and oddities) was my favorite way to uncover the soul of a place.

I attended culinary school after leaving the Cunningham company, and, subsequently, wrote a couple of pieces for David Rosengarten, and worked briefly with him as a fact-checker and researcher for the Rosengarten Report. During my externship for culinary school, I worked at Trio restaurant in Chicago under Chef Grant Achatz (now of Alinea fame), and pastry chef Curtis Duffy (now executive chef at Avenues in the Chicago Peninsula Hotel).

I continue to perform as a freelancer, and currently teach at The Juilliard School and the Merce Cunningham studio. Like mother, like daughter, I married a foreigner: my husband is Swiss-French, from Geneva; his mother is Brazilian. Between the raclette and the iskender kebap, the grass-fed burgers and the fejoida, we are defining our own traditions.

2 comments:

David said...

A personal plead: How is the translation to turkish, "A Hungry Bear Won't Dance"?. And is this a proverb?

The Duke of Waltham said...

I don't know about Turkey, but this is a much-used proverb in Greece, and there is even a cooking TV show here called "Hungry Bear". It is quite possible that the expression is common to the two countries, like so many other things. In any case, I'm afraid bear entertainers used to be very popular throughout Europe not too long ago.

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