• [C]hronicled. | HEAT LALIBERTE

     … audentis fortuna iuvat

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Heat’s Home & Culinary Capers · Gear | Leica

    A timid tree in abscission,
    And a hatched egg underside a fallen leaf.
    ’Tis the gift of life, surely.
    But what of the land; fraught with flustered flora?
    A detritus there beckons,
    Laden with throes. Laced with trauma.
    Careful, caterpillar.
    Your iridescence has foes,
    And though time doth passes,
    It leaves holes.

    But the sun rises,
    And survival begets spun silk,
    Now you’re a cocoon,
    But distanced from your ilk.
    Where’s your limerence! Incant! Sing!
    You’ve finally emerged from chrysalis,
    Just flap your wings.

    Once a larvae,
    And now a lullaby,
    I watch you fly,
    Into blue blue skies.

    Fortune favours the bold. And we favour you. Welcome to The Curatorialist, Heat Laliberté.
    [And thanks to my friend Matt, Vancouver’s venerable Dumpling King, for telling me about this beautiful man.]

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  • [C]hronicled. | HAIDEE HART

     … Home is where the Hart is.

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Stowel Lake Farm, Salt Spring Island · Gear | Leica

    Gazing through my viewfinder, inside a country kitchen I stand. And amidst a pantheon of burly chefs cascaded in chiaroscuro, I see only her—an oculus, through which shoots a blinding beam of light, seamlessly elucidating this chthonic cavern. And with an arresting sentience she luxuriates—professing admiration to piles of sun-kissed bounty—to each bulb of beet, and last petal picked. And though I’m a louche cynic, I’ll indulge you, and perhaps even promulgate, that it’s beyond beautiful. All of it. So much so, you feel remorse even picturing it. From where hails this wondrous woman—this epicurean pugilist—evincing in me maudlin sentiments of ambrosia, petrichor, and grace?

    Haidee’s presence is indelible, and most evident in her idyllic domain, Salt Spring Island’s heaven-on-earth fixture, Stowel Lake Farm—brandishing a singular facet of utopia where bunnies hop, chickens talk, and gregarious farm folk welcome flocking souls with inviting eyes, uttering phrases like “How are you?” and really mean it. It’s sun-drenched. It’s lollipops and crisps. It’s a soul-rending Radiohead song, a palpable chimera where your heart skips.

    Wife to an [equally] astonishing artisan, and mother to four delightful [and perfectly chiseled] children, Haidee has singlehandedly transformed her life’s passion of cooking—once just a humble avocation—into a full-fledged international career. Her endless quest for beauty—be it in the ground, or on a plate—has commanded indefatigable effort and tremendous sacrifice. Harbouring diehard allegiance to the land [and life], she’s the embodiment of grit & grace—a dreamweaver who weaves while she’s awake. And with an island community championing her every move, us converts watch in awe, utterly subsumed.

    Welcome to The Curatorialist, Chef Haidee Hart.

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  • [C]hronicled. | MELANIE WITT

     … the anatomy of melancholia

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Mel’s Home & Osteria Savio Volpe · Gear | Leica

    Akitchen clad in forlorn formica, and the poignant perfume of steamed, buttery cake. We’re here to lay bare—victims of vignettes—our visages cascaded by soft, intermittent shadows, of rustling drapes. Pilfered of light, and her alluring gaze, it’s scintillating shadowplay—an ocular tryst. How to posterize this instance… and to elucidate this camera obscura? I now realize it was never about the depiction, but rather the telling imprint of her subdued aversion—magnificent melancholia.

    And that magnificence transcends, evident in her sultry paramour—Vancouver’s boner-inducing, saporous fixture, Osteria Savio Volpe. But she’s no wistful protagonist in this autofiction; instead, she transmogrifies, stoically helming a brilliant brigade of burly, hardknock chefs. Though she’s poised in her passion, and deserved of any paean, there’s always that heart of darkness—that line she’ll never cross. And as is with most chefs cooking at this level, life outside the sanctuary can be one painted in abstractions.

    We’re partial to Mel here at The Curatorialist—she’s the first woman to grace our presence, and a herald for many, many more. So now that we’ve seen the light, let this Falstaffian foray be our aubade for ascension. Welcome, Chef Melanie Witt. [And our apologies for plastering 1000 posters of you around town. Video here.]

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  • [C]hronicled. | JOHNNY BRIDGE

     … A Leviathan’s Lullaby & A Heart Buried at Sea

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Thormanby Island · Gear | Leica

    The boat rocks on seething, cerulean seas as he scuttles bow-side, silhouetted. It’s forceful shadow play, heuristics by hatchet, a ceremonious prelude—the reason I’m here. But I’m dazed—weak at the knees—inundated by roaring winds, and the inescapable sounds of guttural sea lions that burrow into my plexus. Disenfranchised, I close my eyes to elude this constance—these forces of nature, this bearded, subsumed energumen. But suddenly, he amplifies his histrionics, gesticulating to fish and fowl—euphoric. “Eureka!” he bellows, hunched over starboard, delivering a cohort of oysters back to their provenance on a raging inferno of crackling coals. My mind’s flooded. And this ark is my rapture. But who better to save me, than Noah incarnate.

    I’m not one for sacrosanct—and perhaps exaggerate for effect—but find it near impossible to refrain from allegory in encapsulating Johnny’s remarkable life story. With humanity blemished in every which way, it’d be easy to mistake his positivity—and clamour—for pandering nostrums. But now that I’ve seen the light, I understand his story to be as much nativist, as nurturist. There’s no room for “versus” in this debate, and no heart of darkness he’d wish to spare. He’s of this land, as much Leviathan as he is mad pirate, and we’re all here, watching in awe, bearing witness to his belle époque.

    But let’s not let this rapturous renaissance inflect years of brutal brawn. As is with the vast majority of professionals working in in high-pressured kitchens, Johnny, too, has taken his licks. What renders him singular [having worked in over 55 restaurants] is that he’s remained utterly unscathed, having garnered enough intelligence, and resilience, to belabour any powder keg. So thank you, Mr. Bridge, for allowing us into your domain, and for showing a cynical city slicker the true meaning of adventure. I’ve buried my heart at sea, and you know I’ll be back for more.

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  • [C]hronicled. | MARK SINGSON

     … from darkness to light, and the virtues of acceptance. 

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Gastown, Vancouver · Gear | Leica

    Filipinos pioneered pathological altruism. I’m saying it, because I know they won’t—vanity never seemed to be their brand of fashion. I have a lot of Filipino friends, and their perennial positivity has kept assuaging my existential allegiances, so much so, that I’m like, happier again. Must they all be champion Good Samaritans? And must their joie de vivre be so contagious? Regardless, they’re giving us cynics a pretty shit name.

    Mark’s provenance; his remarkable journey that traverses Las Piñas, Philippines and Vancouver, Canada is a masterclass in familial resilience, an eloquent dissertation on patience and dedication, and silent revelry in nostalgic longing. It’s poignancy, distilled. Thankfully, having enough aunts around him to rebuild modern civilization, in the absence of his mother and father, his childhood never culminated into a vestige pilfered of its innocence. And the proof’s in the pudding, just look at the photos. [Spoiler: Fanny Pack fashions]

    It’s an exciting time for Mark, and things are happening to him at a rate he can neither process, nor fathom. And, as is the case with most Dionysian minds, he too sublimates. It’s all healthy of course—he’s got good bones, following in the footsteps of a brave, industrious and self-made mother. His prized trait is his virtue of acceptance, which is why, at ostensibly the most important time in his life—and career—he holds the power to weave his own dreams. And he’s earned it, time and time over. So here’s to you, Mr. Dreamweaver. Welcome to The Curatorialist family.

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  • [C]hronicled. | MATT MURTAGH-WU

     … Of reverie and reality, and everything in between.

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Matt’s Living Room · Gear | Leica

    I first became aware of Matt—and his self-professed moniker, “The Dumpling King”—in the final days of last summer. Notable outlets had given him prominent coverage, plugging the shit out of his all-you-can-eat dumpling pop-ups. I’d corroborated from the grapevine that his events were a success—lines around the block, no dumpling left behind. It was official—the devotees of dim sum had finally bestowed upon him their blessed anointment. But I’ve never been one for sacrosanct.

    “Fuck him, and his plastic throne” I remember thinking to myself. Especially after watching him continuously thumb-pick his nose, flaunt his possessions, and piss off his girlfriend by secretly filming her around the house, much to her tired, deadpan response—“Matt. Stop”. Stop—I probably should have [but glad I didn’t]. But in the words of Simon Sinek—the charismatic speaker who ostensibly cracked the code on millennials—I was simply, “addicted”. How could my bête noire beguile me this quickly?

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  • [C]hronicled. | DENIZ TARAKCIOGLU

     … Some sort of addiction.

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Chambar · Gear | Leica

    He sits across from me, clad in vintage plaid—disheveled hair, a little twitchy, pushing up the frame of his signature leopard-print Ray-Bans. A hint of nervous nostalgia, and rightly so. This place, Vancouver’s coveted Belgian restaurant Chambar, was where he cut his teeth, and made his bones, after all.

    The pathos is palpable. A life spent cooking on the line—a curious compulsion, a cloistered, cathartic existence. People seldom realize the culprit—the source of addiction—is in fact the life itself. Reality becomes fiction, and nothing but the kitchen starts to suffice—that’s the sacrifice. And who better to indulge us than the best fucking breakfast cook west of Ontario.

    I typecast [and perhaps exaggerate] for effect, but Deniz is so much more—a polyglot of culinary lingua franca. A firebrand—a mad scientist—who holds an astonishing pedigree of pastiche, a perennial passion for food and feeding people, and a profound reverence for the industry and everyone in it. I’m partial, of course—in fact, full on nepotist. He’s a friend, a partner, and a prolific contributor to this platform. But one thing he’s never been, is safe.

    And here, we’re sort of allergic to safe. Start getting used to delving deep into the lives of fiercely talented, non-conformist brains with a “fuck you very much” kind of an attitude. It’s revelatory, bonafide Curatorialist, and it’s fucking [C]hronicled.

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