Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Türkiye Dinner

I am a bit behind on my postings.  The idea was to show you before and after pictures of locations I used for some dinners this past weekend for Istancool. Saturday I had the good fortune of recreating the amazing space you'll see in images below for a dinner hosted by Jefferson Hack amongst others.  Located in the middle of Istanbul University, this fantastic lofty atrium felt perfect for the dinner I envisioned for the 200 guests: long black lacquered table and chairs, branches from fig trees, hundreds of candles, and dramatic architectural lighting.  See what your imaginations come up with before I post the party photos in a few days.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The first dinner I'm designing for Istancool 2011 is in Karaköy, a mostly commercial quarter on the Bosphorus, which was originally the meeting place for banks and insurance companies in the 19th Century, but today is home to mechanical, plumbing, and electronic parts suppliers. The area is gritty but has a beauty and energy to it that is quite intoxicating.  In modern Turkish, "kara" means "black" or "dark" and "köy" means village.  It's the perfect place to host a dinner with the inimitable Tilda Swinton and her boyfriend Sandro Kopp, who is holding an exhibition of portraits he painted whilst on Skype.  The only portrait I've seen so far is the one you'll see below of Tilda herself.  The mood, complete with pixelations, I think, meshes well with the location and the atmosphere of the approaching evening.  I'm looking forward to Thursday and excited to share "after" photos from the party very soon.

A portrait of Tilda Swinton by Sandro Kopp

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Golden Eggs

photo by Chuck Pryce

Artist Chuck Pryce, a friend and colleague of mine, and his wife Candy recently sent me a lovely gift: a half dozen eggs from his country home where he keeps ten hens. One of the most wonderful details about this story is that each breed of chicken lays a different color egg. Chuck emailed me some sweet commentary describing his brood (I wish I had more photos of these amazing chickens):
  1. Ancona: black and white mottled, lays the smallish white egg. 
  2. Araucana: one lavender in color, the other in brown. These girls have huge heads, and for some reason are very friendly. They lay the blug eggs. 
  3. Astraloop: black and white iridescent green feathers lay the brown eggs.
  4. La Bresse: skinny white, and nervous.  These are the French Hens (good eating, says Chuck) and give white and pale brown eggs
  5. Buff orpington: large blond girls, also very friendly and lay the pink eggs.
Although I found the eggs precious and beautiful, I thought this would be a perfect time to share my very simple egg recipe (and I'm sure those hens wouldn't want all their labor to go to waste). I cracked four to create a simple breakfast for two, a quick bite before heading out on Sunday.

After cracking your eggs in a large enough bowl to allow for some good whisking, take a fork and beat rigorously for about a minute.  This will make the eggs fluffy and buttery in the end.

Next, heat up some unsalted butter in a flat pan. I cannot stress the following enough, use unsalted butter. I generally use a European or local butter. Wait until the butter almost stops bubbling completely. You'll also smell the beginning of some caramelization . . . this is when you know it's time to pour in the unseasoned eggs.  Just pour the eggs. Never add any seasoning until the eggs are fully cooked.

Now you'll want to let the eggs sit for a minute. Then start pulling up the edges. When the eggs begin to harden more, fold the edge over once. Let the juices around this piece begin to harden, then fold again. Repeat this once or twice more. In the end you should end up with an "almost-omelette" in about three or fours pieces. Please don't over scramble, and whatever you do, don't leave the eggs too long on the heat. Most people overcook their eggs. If you are using organic, free-range chicken eggs, you can ignore the media scares about salmonella poisoning. And if you have an aversion to soft eggs, try it my way once. You'll most likely never want a hard egg again.

Put the eggs on a plate and sprinkle with sea salt. I'm a big fan of Australian Murray River seas crystals. If you can multi-task as I like to do in the kitchen, squeeze some fresh oranges and put a baguette in the oven before beating your eggs. Place the baguette on the dish with the eggs, and set the table or a tray with salt, butter, jam, and your choice of beverages, and you'll have a nice send-off to weekend activities.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm excited to announced that the 2011 Instancool schedule has been released!

After the great success of Istancool 2010 (which celebrated Istanbul's status as the 2010 European Capital of Culture), the global brand Liberatum in association with Istanbul'74 and AnOther Magazine will host the second edition of the prestigious art, design, fashion, film, music, literature and architecture festival from May 27 through 29.  Festival founder and artistic director Pablo Ganguli is again collaborating this year with Demet Maftuoglu who is creative head of the festival.

The festival, which features leading cultural personalities from Turkey and other parts of the world, offers a fascinating and unique cultural experience that brings together some of the world's most talented artists to Instanbul.  I am honored to be a part of the festivities this year. 

Please visit the website for more information.


Friday 27 May 2011
Vakko Cultural and Fashion Centre

1pm - Cinema in the Age of Marketing
Marco Mueller, Kirsten Dunst and Nurgul Yesilcay
What does Contemporary Cinema Tell Us About The World Today

2pm Murathan Mungan interviewed by Muammer Brav

3pm Io Sono L'Amore - Film Screening

3pm Haider Ackermann Worksho

5pm Q&A - Tilda Swinton and Luca Guadagnino with Serra Yilmaz

Saturday 28 May 2011
Pera Museum

1pm Culture of The Young
Dan Colen and Ryan McGinley
Street Art and Its Effect on Counter Culture

2pm  Collapse Into Now
Michael Stipe, Sophie Calle, Sam Taylor-Wood. Chaired by Jefferson Hack
Michael Stipe presents his 'Collapse Into Now' film project - A series of short films made by artists including Sam Taylor Wood and Sophie Calle to accompany each of the songs on R.E.M.'s most recent album.

3pm Fables of Turkey
Murat Daltaban and Hakan Gunday
The Impact of Turkish Literature on Theatre

4pm The English Director
Sam Taylor-Wood presents Play by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Anthony Minghella

Sunday 29 May 2011
Istanbul Modern Museum

1pm Sophie's World
A Talk with Sophie Calle

2pm Love and Revolt
Reha Erdem with Firat Yucel
The Cinema of Reha Erdem

3pm Artists Vs Brands
Courtney Love
The Artist as A Brand

4pm Tuncer Kurtiz - A Special Presentation

5pm Voices of Hope
Amnesty International - Readings