This year in April, I was in U.S.A., visiting four different cities to give lectures on history of Turkish cuisine, do cooking demonstrations and also attend Roger Smith Conference on Food Technology, where I gave a presentation on “Olive Oil Extraction Techniques used in Western Anatolia”.
At the end of my trip I paid a visit to my favorite shop Barnes and Noble, and looked through the newly published books to see if there would be anything that suited my interest. The only book that caught my eye was “My Usual Table” by Colman Andrews. I had never heard of him before but decided to buy the book because it looked interesting. I found out later that he was actually a big time food writer who was one of the people who started one of my favorite magazines, Saveur. I found the book to be very entertaining and informative and I really admired Colman Andrews and how he flourished in a career of food writing.
Day before yesterday I was working in the office when I received a call from my colleague at the restaurant. He told me that two Americans were asking for me. So I went to the restaurant and went to the table of the Americans who asked for me. As the gentleman at the table was introducing himself and telling me that his friend Anya von Bremzen told him to go dine at the restaurant I work at and ask for me, I recognized who he was. I was shaking the hand of Colman Andrews, whose book I recently finished reading. I got star struck. Frankly that is how I get when I meet a famous chef or a food writer. I told him that I had recently finished reading his book. He could not believe it. I guess he never thought that he would run into someone in Turkey who knew him, let alone read his book.
We chatted for a bit then I left him alone with his wife so they can enjoy their lunch without me hovering over the table. I stopped by their table once more to say goodbye before they left and we exchanged business cards. He was nice enough to tell me to let him know if I ever visit NYC.
I only wish that I had my book so that he could sign it!!!!
Yesterday was one of my friend’s birthday. To celebrate, a group of friends and I went to “Yeni Lokanta” one of the new additions to the Istanbul restaurant scene, owned and operated by one of my favorite chefs Civan Er. As soon as I entered the restaurant, to my surprise I say Mr. and Mrs. Andrews sitting at the bar and enjoying the food with a nice glass of wine. I approached them to say hi. They were also very surprised. We chatted about how their day was and where they went to eat. I also introduced them to Chef Civan which they really appreciated as they loved the food at the restaurant. Obviously I did not have my book again, as I had no idea that I would run into them.
The next night I went to Istiklal street in Beyoğlu with a mission in my mind. I had found out from Mr. Andrews that he was going to be dining at “Asmalı Cavit.” I found out from the restaurant manager that his reservations were at 20:30. I paid a visit to the restaurant at 21:00, and this time they were both surprised and happy to see me, as I held out my book and asked Mr. Andrews to sign it.
A three day adventure and a signature on my book by one of the most important people in the food world.