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Kiosque at the Batumi bus station in Georgia | Photo hep. archive 

We are a collective of professionals with distinct but complimentary expertise & backgrounds.

A sociology & food studies scholar with a taste for consulting & reaching beyond the academia.

A management consultant with an aptitude for scholarly engagement in food & culture.

A creative professional with a deep interest in the urban world and arts & culture.

We have worked in higher education, research, branding, advertising, publishing, management and consultancy in Central & South-Eastern Europe, in the U.S., the Middle East and Turkey.

Our combined experience & expertise include scientific & applied research; creative execution & branding; product & campaign design; localizing global brands; organizational ethnography & diagnosis; strategy & organization design as well as devising learning & talent management programs.

We can draw upon a network of international experts & professionals from complimentary disciplines. 


Zafer Yenal is a professor of Sociology at Boğaziçi University since 2000. 

His research interests include food studies, the sociology of consumption, agricultural sociology, and historical sociology. 


He is currently the editor of New Perspectives on Turkey and a member of the editorial board of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. 


He has also produced radio and TV programs, curated exhibitions and participated in arts projects. 

Michael Kubiena has 20 years of experience in managerial and consulting roles in the ICT and service industries. 

Well versed in managing people, budgets & complex projects, his areas of expertise include strategy development, human resources & talent management and organizational diagnosis & (re)-design. 

Originally from Vienna, Austria, Michael relocated to Istanbul in 2009, where he gained a degree in Cultural Studies from Sabancı University.


As a creative director Burak Şuşut has worked for global & local brands in food & beverage (Starbucks, Le Pain Quotidien, Shake Shack,…) and the FMCG industry (Coca Cola, MaviJeans, Levi’s); in publishing, arts & culture (İstanbul Modern, Pera Museum, Rampa Gallery) and for Turkish & international universities (Boğaziçi, Koç and Indiana University).


He was an author for Vogue Türkiye and Time Out İstanbul.

His areas of expertise include strategy, branding, brand & visual identity, curation & exhibition design.

We frequently collaborate with the following partners:


MARKETAGENT.COM is Austria's leading online market & opinion research institute with offices in Austria, Switzerland & Slovenia and online panel capacities in 55 countries. Working with Marketagent allows hep. to complement our qualitative research & insights capability with quantitative expertise.


Under the label 'Too Many Disciplines' we collaborate with Yalın Tan & Partners, a renowned Istanbul-based interior design practice. YT+P's architects & designers translate hep.'s insights & concepts into spatial & design solutions; together we develop retail concepts, store designs and customer experience solutions.


fika is our partner for creative execution.

fika develops visual identities & graphic design solutions for branding, advertising, publications, events & exhibitions.


With its eight prehensile arms lined with suckers, camera-like eyes, elaborate repertoire of camouflage tricks and spooky intelligence, the octopus is like no other creature on Earth." [continue reading]

Nature, August 2015



It takes a whole lot of work to make an octopus palatable, but humans around the globe, particularly in the Mediterranean and in East Asia, have been doing it for centuries. Most preparations involve tenderizing the meat—which is quite lean—through some combination of massage, blanching, braising, and blunt force.

According to Harold McGee, salting is essential.

The French chef Éric Ripert tenderized an octopus [...] by giving it a few good whacks on a cutting board, echoing the stereotypical Greek fisherman bashing it to death on the rocky shores of the Aegean.

The perfectionistic sushi chef Jiro Ono requires that his octopus be massaged for forty to fifty minutes. 

One way of bypassing the prep work, of course, is to eat the thing while it’s still alive. This is a practice with its own morally dubious thrill. [...] In a terrifying scene from the South Korean cult film “Old Boy,” however, it is served and eaten whole. Multiple live specimens were used in the filming of the scene, and the actor, Choi Min-sik, a Buddhist, said a prayer for each one."

[more on eating or not eating octopus here]

The NewYorker October 2014


Top: Utagawa Hiroshige | Hunting the Giant Octopus of Namekawa

Bottom: Stefan Sagmeister for the School of Visual Arts, NYC

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