Workshop in Turkish Home Cooking + Food and Travel Photography

   Workshop in Turkish Home Cooking + Food and Travel Photography

Led by Olga Tikhonova Irez and David Hagerman

Zeliş Çifliği, Sapanca, Turkey

MAY, 26-31 2014

Read what last year’s workshop participants had to say about their experience


Zeliş Çiftliği, sapanca, turkey sep '13

kebab night, sapanca workshop, sapanca, turkey sep 2013

Join us for five days of cooking and food and travel photography in a bucolic countryside setting just two hours by car from Istanbul. Cooking instructor and culinary tour leader Olga will share her extensive knowledge of Turkish food and food culture in her Turkish family’s kitchen; imagine transforming the seasonal vegetables you’ve purchased at a village market into a meze feast, sitting down to warm börek and wood fired oven-baked bread that you’ve baked yourself and getting up close and personal with farmers and artisan cheese producers. In between bites master the art of photographing ingredients, food, people, markets, architecture and landscapes with personal coaching from David, a professional photographer who shoots for publications like Saveur, the New York Times Travel Section and Food & Wine.


Day 1: Arrival and introductions

We’ll meet in Istanbul and board a shuttle to Zeliş Çifliği. After tea and time to settle in we’ll meet for lunch and talk about the week ahead. We will continue at the kitchen to walk through essential Turkish pantry and cooking utensils with Olga, after which you can liase with David, who will be available to meet one-on-one throughout the afternoon to talk about your goals for the week. In the evening we’ll sit down together for our first home-cooked meal of the week.

Wild mushrooms at the Sinop weekly market, Sinop, Turkey October 7, 2013

Day 2: Village market visit and on-site photography, followed by Turkish home cooking

We’ll visit a small, truly local market where vendors from nearby villages sell fresh produce and dairy products. Here we’ll shop for seasonal ingredients for dinner, and stop at a family-run butcher shop to order our meat and watch the butcher work. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to work on your own, and with help from David, photographing food in its cultural context. This is an opportunity to hone your techniques for photographing markets, people, action and details, with an emphasis on using light to your advantage. After lunch at a local fish restaurant we’ll return to the lodge for a brief rest. In the late afternoon we’ll reconvene in the kitchen to cook our dinner.

Day 3: On-the-road photography

After an early breakfast at Zeliş Çifliği we’ll drive for about 90 minutes to a picturesque Anatolian town with a brick-paved historic center and well-preserved Ottoman houses to photograph street life and architecture. We’ll wander the town making images, with David offering semi-private instruction to pairs of participants. After a few hours we’ll convene for a lunch of regional dishes at the local canteen, where David will share secrets for photographing in restaurants. After lunch we’ll continue working on our photography, then return to the lodge and relax over a delicious home-style dinner prepared for us.

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Day 4: Turkish baking secrets revealed, and an off-road trip to secret mountain valleys

Today we’ll start the morning with an intensive hands-on session on Turkish breads and sweet and savory pastries. We’ll finish late in the morning, then around noon we’ll hop onto 4 X 4s for a drive into the area’s gorgeous mountain valleys. We’ll make several stops at especially picturesque plateaus for tea with mountain residents, and to take advantage of golden late afternoon light for landscape and nature photography. No cooking this evening; after the long day you’ll be glad to see dinner waiting for us when we return to the lodge. After dinner, a warming glass or two of Olga’s special Turkish-style mulled wine will insure an extra sound sleep.


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Day 5: Discovering Turkish home cooking

On our last day together we’ll start by visiting a Caucasian family that settled in Sapanca at end of 19th century. On the family’s small property we’ll join the 70 year-old matriarch as she milks her cow and then makes cheese, and we’ll bake bread in their wood-fired oven. After an al fresco breakfast in the family’s garden we’ll return to the lodge for the final photography workshop by David. Then we’ll convene in the kitchen to cook up a feast for the final diner, after which we’ll view a slideshow of participants’ 10 best images of the week.

Day 6: Good-byes and departure

After a leisurely breakfast we’ll depart for Istanbul at noon.

Note: At arrival you’ll receive welcome packet with recipes , photography tips and gifts. David will be available throughout the week to meet with you to talk about your goals and review your work. Depending on the weather, he’ll be out before breakfast every morning with his camera for a walk on the hillside; if you’re an early riser feel free to join up!


Practical Details

Who is this workshop for? Cooks and food lovers keen to know Turkish food beyond what is usually served in restaurants. Adventurous travelers — first-time and experienced visitors to Turkey eager to see a side of the country beyond its popular tourist destinations. Photographers beginning to advanced; individual instruction is tailored to your skill level and individual photography goals. Food and travel bloggers; improve your photography skill while collecting material for attention-getting posts. This workshop is limited to 9 participants.

Who are the instructors? To learn more about Olga and David please see their pages.

Cost for workshop participants depends on type of room and whether or not you choose to share:

  • Large room with a lake view (double bed, private bath, private balcony, water boiler with tea and coffee): US$2,500 per person single occupancy; US$2,300 per person if shared with another participant. 1 room available.
  • Regular room with a lake view (double bed, private bath, private balcony, water boiler with tea and coffee): US$2,300 per person single occupancy; US$2,100 per person if shared with another participant. 1 room available.
  • Regular room with a green view (double or twin bed, private bath, water boiler with tea and coffee): US$2,200 per person single occupancy; US$2,000 per person if shared with another participant.  4 rooms available.

Workshop fees include: return transfer from/to Istanbul, 5-night lodging, all meals and beverages and coffee/tea throughout the day, cooking instruction and group/one-on-one photography instruction, wifi at the lodge, all ground transport, day tours, and welcome gifts.

The cost excludes: travel insurance, airfare to/from Istanbul, alcohol (available at the lodge), incidentals (eg. purchases at markets, laundry, etc.)

We welcome non-participating companions, sharing a room with a workshop participant, at a cost of US$ 1,400 per person. Non-participating companions may join meals and excursions but not cooking classes or photography instruction; they should expect to have a fair amount of unstructured free time while cooking/photography instruction is happening; this might be spent walking/hiking in the area or simply relaxing with a good book and a glass of tea at the lodge.

Booking: Please get in touch with Olga via olga(dot)irez(at)gmail(dot)com to secure your spot: 9 available spots will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Payment: We require a 25% deposit to secure your spot. Final payment is due two months prior to the workshop (March 26, 2014). Payment can be done via bank transfer: incurring administration fees will be added to the total.

Cancellation policy: Your payment (deposit or in full) is refundable until March 26, 2014; after this date we cannot offer any refund.  In the event of circumstances beyond our control we reserve the right to cancel the workshop at any time; in this event any payments you have made will be fully refunded. Excursions are subject to change.

Food allergies: If you have any dietary restrictions do let us know when booking – we will be happy to accommodate you.

What to bring: Your SLR camera and a laptop for downloading images. You can see a suggested full packing list here. Aprons, knifes and other kitchen equipment will be provided.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to get in touch with Olga via olga(dot)irez(at)gmail(dot)com or with David at drhagerman(at)gmail(dot)com.

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