a trans-locational interactive cooking experience
explorations of
culinary tradition
individual innovation
ingredient availability
and the possibilities
of shared experiences
using internet


designed by samyazah developed by basat © 2009

The Virtual Chef 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 traveled, physically and virtually, to Turkey, Iran, Germany, France, Poland, Romania, USA, Ukraine and many more locations throughout the world.

Virtual Chef is a project of Julie Upmeyer
an artist and initiator based in Istanbul, Turkey,

Conceptual Premise

In the physical world: Food

Food is universal and commonplace, though ultimately quite personal. Eating is the closest connection our body has to the outside world.

How are contemporary attitudes towards food affected by:

• tradition / memory
• marketing / word-of-mouth
• nationalism / globalism / individualism

The preparation, creation and distribution methods of food are always changing. The availability of ingredients, new innovations, imports / exports and migration all contribute to this change, as well as our attitudes. Food is a tool for communication, a gift, a cultural difference and a similarity.

In the virtual world: Technology

How can one have an intimate experience through the internet, not in the sense of escaping to a virtual world, but in having a significant connection with an individual in a distant location?

Internet technologies such as Skype, live internet TV and other connective software allow two parties to interact (through audio and video). This eliminates expensive and often impossible physical travel, but does not solve the ongoing problems of facilitating exchange and dialogue. Virtual Chef explores these virtual communications artistically, creating a shared experience.