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A standout character: Ms. Ozlem Unsal

We’re excited to present the Bosphorus Brewing Co’s very first community member interview is with the lively, passionate intellectual, Ms. Ozlem Unsal, from City University, London

You’ve almost completed your Ph.D … what is your field of study? My research is based on the recent transformation of Istanbul under the forces of neo-liberal urbanism, so you can say that my field of study is urban sociology. More specifically I look at how the communities of inner-city poverty areas get mobilized around their rights once they get pressured by urban renewal schemes. Sulukule and Tarlabasi are the two neighbourhoods that I am focusing on.

Which beer do you enjoy most at the Bosphorus Brewing Company: Hop & Glory or Karbon? What other kinds of beer would you like to see from us? I am a proper stout enthusiast so Karbon would be my favourite but to be honest BB Co has been doing such a great job that at times it is very difficult for me to choose between Hop and Glory, and Karbon — even though Halic Gold is a tad sweet for my taste I sometimes find myself tending towards that option as well. What can I say, I have a love for beer so I welcome almost all options as long as we are talking about good beer! I think I like what I see at the BB Co so far so all I could ask for would be endless supply of what is already there – especially the ales and the stout!

You travel between Nicosia, London, and Istanbul; Tell me one thing — other than family and friends— that you love in each of these places. Food, certainly. Cyprus, where I come from, is a small island but I think it has a very humble yet special culinary culture that deserves to be cherished. I cook, eat and love Cypriot food. Istanbul, needless to say, has a lot to offer in terms of good food as long as you eat at the right place, or shop for quality ingredients. I also find that Istanbul is a definite winner when it comes to street food, compared to most European cities. Talking about London, I don’t even know where to start from since I don’t think there is any limit to the range of culinary pleasures it offers. People can keep discussing forever -if they wish- whether London has acquired the essence of ‘true cosmopolitanism’, or not, but I can confidently say that the culinary culture has already done that. I would also like to note that I hate it when people speak poorly of British cuisine. I think it has its very own depth and complexity just like any other cuisine and there is a lot to explore on that page. Show me someone who doesn’t like stilton cheese, apple crumble, or a proper roast with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings, and I’ll have a few words with them.

If you could invite anyone—living or dead—to supper who would you dine with and what would you serve? I would like to go for both scenarios: From the dead it would have to be my grandma who passed away in 2008. Very unfortunately I never got to cook for her and I think I owe her that since a substantial portion of my love for food comes from her. I would cook some of the most complex local Cypriot stuff that she cooked for us (the families and friends of her two daughters) for many years both because I knew she loved it as much as we did and also because I could ask her of some details and tips which I feel are missing in my cooking — very selfish. From the living I would go for Lena Dunham, one of my latest discoveries within the young writer/comedian category. She would make a good laugh and be easy with the food. Our dinner would be a casual spread of avocados in a red onion and vinegar dressing, a fish pie and a big bowl of green salad. We would have quite a few beers to go with all that and finish the night off with a Nutella cheesecake if our blood sugar levels hit bottom.

What’s your favourite word? What’s your least favourite word? My favourite word could be ‘procrastination’, especially these days when I am trying to finish my PhD. It represents a big universe where all the random things that you do to escape from work transform into those things that actually provide you with the energy to get back to work. I cannot think of any other mechanism that works better than this and I also cannot think of any other word that captures a universe as such. My least favourite word on the other hand would have to be ‘good’ as in the answer to ‘how are you doing?’. It is often the end result of a rhetorical dialogue and it pretty much means nothing. It bypasses too many things and helps boil most details (that might be of worth) down to a matter of insignificance.

–INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY I.A.W.