Friday, October 6, 2017

Expat Sofra, New Title, New Co-editor!

You know how when you are in the kitchen, and no matter how hard you try and make a certain recipe work, it just doesn’t?

 The same holds true for anthologies. Then, you find the one ingredient that perhaps changes the dish, but makes everything right. For personal and family reasons, co-editor Rose Margaret Deniz decided to step down from Sofra. 

 Just like in our expat kitchens when a recipe falls flat or we are missing a key element, we are confronted with two choices. One, to just throw our hands up in the air and give up. Two, to look around the kitchen and find a substitute, that oftentimes turns out to be the magic component that makes the dish sing. A new, unexpected ingredient can elevate a culinary creation, and so the same holds true for the book, Expat Sofra. Rather than fall into despair, I looked around my kitchen and didn’t have to look far to find my longtime friend, Italian expat, culinary maestra and chef, Francesca Rosa.  

I first met Francesca when we both joined an Istanbul based baby group with our then-infant sons. She hosted our group of moms at her house, where we came for the quiche and stayed for the bond of intimate friendship our group of nine expat women created. We laughed together, plotted, and cried a lot too, over coffee, crepes, and focaccia. Whenever you are with Francesca, it’s all about friendship and food. When I approached her about taking on the anthology with me, she immediately said yes.

However, I didn’t want Francesca joining me in the Expat Sofra project unless we could make a fresh start. The book is undergoing some organizational changes to enhance the cookbook focus, and feature more recipes to go with each story. A fresh start needs a new title, so we have re-titled the book Expat Sofra; Recipes of Foreign Life in Turkey.
Francesca brings far more than just her friendship with me to the project. I am correct in being in awe of her culinary talent. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome, and her work as a food stylist has received notable recognition. To be let into Francesca Rosa’s Istanbul kitchen is truly an honor, as is being able to partake in a feast she’s created. 

So, welcome to Expat Sofra, Francesca! A big thanks as well to everyone who has supported Expat Sofra over the past two years. Thanks for being patient while our book simmers. We promise you, the finished product, like every great feast, will be well worth the wait.  

With a background in business, language, and culinary arts Francesca Rosa joins Expat Sofra as new-co-editor and expert chef. Raised in Italy, she studied in the UK, and lived and worked in Paris, Barcelona and Chile. Residing in Istanbul for over 11 years, she gave up corporate life to pursue her passion for food. As a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome, she blends haute cuisine and French pastry with hearty local flair. She is adept at spicing up old recipes with tastes reminiscent of her travels around the world, while also grounded in her adopted homeland. A feast for the eye as well as the stomach, her talents as a food stylist for have been featured on posters, packaging and blogs. Her expertise gained her a place at the Organization Committee of Boccuse d’Or Preselection Turkey 2016 and  participation at the Istanbul Contemporary Food Art Festival. When not cooking as a private chef or giving culinary lessons, this foodie maestra can be found traveling near and far with her husband and two sons, preferably in a camper on a remote beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. Follow her on Instagram @ottomanbistekkina.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sofra Contributor Featured at Istanbul Exhibit October 17

Expat Sofra contributor Gabrielle Reeves featured in Istanbul exhibit!

Mark your calendars for October 17 and check out Expat Sofra contributor Gabrielle Reeves at her show "Kaybolan Suretler / Lost Forms." Featuring the work of Doug Russell and Gabrielle Reeves, the exhibition opens at the Istanbul Concept Gallery October 17th and will be on for a month.


A city is a continually evolving collage, a collaborative work composed of various juxtaposed materials and forms that come together to create a new whole from unlikely elements.  The city lives and dies – simultaneously worked on and abandoned by its inhabitants.  It expands and collapses, is broken and rebuilt, and eventually disappears – only to be rediscovered, revealed and even reused years later.  Gabrielle Reeves and Doug Russell share a fascination with this urban and ancient collage reality.  From Istiklâl Avenue in Istanbul to Curetes Street in Ephesus, the ongoing contrasts of hopeful human construction and inevitable decay are a rich source for their creativity and work.  Both artists are deeply affected by this dense and layered landscape, and its overwhelming and immense wealth of ruin and renewal.  The genesis of their mutual interests occurred for both artists while living in Turkey - for Russell, while living in Bursa nearly twenty years ago, and for Reeves starting in 2008 with her first visit to Turkey. 

Foundations; Gabrielle Reeves, acrylic paint on paper

Foundations 1; Gabrielle Reeves, acrylic paint on paper

Wyoming based artist Doug Russell builds improvised and invented realities born out of his love of direct observational drawing and architectural forms.  In his work, Russell contemplates the inevitable effect of time upon human aspirations.  In his series, The Persistence of Ruin, Russell explores a fragmentary reconstruction of history through appropriated ancient and modern ruins and architectural forms from around the world.

The Persistence of Ruin 4: Doug Russell, mixed media on mylar and plexiglas

Istanbul based artist Gabrielle Reeves explores the reciprocal interactions between people and their environment.  Her work, also rooted in observational painting and drawing, incorporates the inhabitants and architecture from her home in Turkey.  In this series, Foundations, Gabrielle Reeves depicts a stratified and surreal portrayal of Istanbul: an organism of a city continually building on top of its old self.

Congratulations Gabrielle Reeves! Be sure and check out "Lost Forms" showing at the Istanbul Concept Gallery October 17, 2017.