Virtual Chef – Black Sea

Virtual Chef – Black Sea, 2008

Julie Upmeyer & Ina Stockem

Sinopale 2, “The New Order of Things”
Curator: Beral Madra

The Virtual Chef is a trans-locational interactive cooking experience.

It combines elements of an art opening, a dinner party and a performance. Connected through the Internet, participants in two locations simultaneously cook a dish, while exchanging information about the recipe, ingredients and anything else that comes to mind.

The ingredients are gathered beforehand in both locations; a city-wide quest that results in the (re)discovery of streets, shops and people.

The project has travelled physically and virtually to Turkey, Iran, Germany, France, Poland, Romania, USA, Ukraine and many more locations throughout the world.

For the second edition of Sinopale, Virtual Chef was located in a small tea house in Sinop. On the very edge of Turkey, we connected with other cities on the Black Sea coast. Live with Natalia in Odessa, Ukraine we cooked ‘Odessa-mama’, a stuffed pepper appetizer. With a recipe from a small coastal village in Russia, we made ‘Vareniki z Tvorogom’, a small boiled pastry filled with berries, cheese and other fruits.

Natalia: Hi it’s me, Natalia. Is the recipe understandable in English? Cause it is a very specific thing to do a recipe in a different language.

Julie: What is ‘tan’?

N: Cheese (home made), cottage

J: Ahh ok…so creamy with chunks

N: Like “brynza” Bulgarian

J: All right.

J: Why did you choose this recipe?

N: Because it is quick, typical, different and gives bright emotions (colourful pepper).

J: Have you made it before? For what event?

N: Some time ago for Women’s Day party. It is good with any kind of wine (cold). Today it is too hot in Odessa.

J: Yes…very hot here too across the sea.

J: What is Women’s Day?

N: It is like Mother’s Day in different countries.

J: Nice. Is this recipe in books or did you learn it from someone?

N: I learned it from my grandmother, thus the title mama-mother…

J: She lived near you, or did you go for visits somewhere else?

N: I’m a citizen of Odessa, 5th generation. Have you visited Odessa?

J: No, I have never been there.

If I start swimming now I could be there by tomorrow evening I think.

N: It’s a pity. I’ve also never visited Turkey. Although, there is a shipping company called UKRFERRY. Now it is not a problem, visa is not necessary.

J: So beautiful your recipe, thank you!

N: You are welcome!