Cafe Fernando Turns 4

April 02nd, 2010  | Category: Chocolate, Memoir/Meme/Misc., Pastry

Pain au Chocolat

Today, Cafe Fernando turns four.

I remember the day I decided on a name, bought a hosting plan, found a simple WordPress theme and published my first post, titled “Hello World!” like yesterday. So many great things have happened since then. Things that I couldn’t have ever imagined four years ago today.

One day I receive an e-mail from a food writer in San Francisco asking for travel advice, and a couple of months later my mother’s karniyarik recipe is on the cover of the food section of a newspaper I’ve left several coffee stains on back when.

One day I go to sleep, hoping to make it through the night after a heavy (and I mean sickeningly-heavy), late-night snack, and not only wake up still breathing, but also to the nicest e-mail I’ve ever received – from a personal hero of mine I have to add – giving me the nicest news I’ve ever heard in a long time.

And recently, something else has happened. Something so amazing and funny that not only did it put a permanent smile on my face, but also affirmed a big decision I’ve made recently.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother and a few of her friends from high school were on their way to a fish restaurant on the European side.  They missed the ferry and had to hop on a smaller boat, which is a lifesaver, but not as comfortable as there’s less space. And that means a 15-minute ride closely pressed together with other passengers.

Just like she does ever since the day I’ve foolishly let her in on my secret career plan, she takes every living creature on her radar hostage and starts quibbling about my recent decision to become a full-time blogger. Leaving a nice job with a nice salary to pursue a career in blogging is inconceivable for her. It is obvious that she hasn’t come across this article about this Carmichael woman.

I also have to mention here that some of my mother’s friends are my readers. So, there are a few raised eyebrows, but the final blow will come from someone else. And mom has no idea.

As she’s going on and on about how hard would it be for me to make a living by writing a blog, especially in Turkey of all places, a beautiful girl sitting right across my mom decides she can’t take it anymore. This beautiful young girl, who turns out to be a Cafe Fernando fan, takes her headphones off and starts telling how much she likes to read my posts, how obvious that her son is enjoying what he’s doing and says she stands behind my decision to become a full-time blogger.

Can you imagine my mom’s face? I wish I was there with my camera.

So yes, as you guessed from this story, I quit my job and decided to become a full-time blogger.

Here’s my new office:

My new office

Oh, and I almost forgot the “Pain au Chocolat”. The recipe, which is the same with croissants, is here. The only difference is how you cut and roll the dough. Instead of triangles, you cut the dough into rectangles and place a large piece of bittersweet chocolate in the middle.

A huge thank you to those who read my ramblings, tried my recipes, took their precious time to leave comments and followed Cafe Fernando grow up during these four years.

A special thank you to the beautiful girl on the boat who made my mom realize that her son is on the right path. She’s seriously thinking about getting a laptop and learning how to surf the net. Don’t be surprised if you see a comment from her under my next post.


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  1. 1 - codfish on April 2nd, 2010

    Congrats, Cenk! I think this is a fantastic step to take for you. All the best!

  2. 2 - Esperanza Naz on April 2nd, 2010

    Congrats on your 4th year of doing what you love! Love the pics, your office, etc. Noticed you like orange and brown. Had very bad experience on my recent trip to Istanbul, but will definitely be back with a vengeance… it’s just too beautiful to be seen once!

  3. 3 - Leesa Garcia on April 2nd, 2010

    Merhaba Cenk!!

    Wow!! What a great story!
    First, congrats on year #4 for CF! And second… CONGRATS on your decision to be a full-time blogger (as a career choice). I’m sure you’ll do well…
    In fact, it makes ME very happy… if that means you’ll have even more posts – I’ll have more good things to look forward to!!

    Love you’re new office!

    All my best…


  4. 4 - Reginald on April 2nd, 2010

    Happy B’day to Cafe Fernando.

    Congrats and good luck with the

    new career. You can never go wrong

    following your passions…

    especially when they include

    tasty chocolate treats. 🙂


  5. 5 - Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy on April 2nd, 2010

    I hope I’ll get to visit your office someday 🙂 Kudos to you, I think you’ll be great. Come to Milan for a “business trip”!

  6. 6 - Sean on April 2nd, 2010

    Kudos to you, Cenk. As it turns out, today is my second day of “funemployment” and I am pretty sure I made the right decision. The world is full of opportunities.

  7. 7 - Soma on April 2nd, 2010

    Cenk Congrats!! Thank you for creating such a beautiful space for us, a delight to every sense. Congrats on your wonderful achievements. There can be nothing more satisfying than being able to do full time what you love the best! I am a big fan of your space. wishing you many more to come.

  8. 8 - Kian on April 2nd, 2010

    Congratulations! Your blog is wonderful. You deserve all the recognitions and accolades. Good luck in becoming a full time blogger.

  9. 9 - Su-Lin on April 2nd, 2010

    Happy bloggaversary! And what an exciting career move!

  10. 10 - Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams on April 2nd, 2010

    Wow, Happy Birthday! Congratulations, Cenk! Your site brings a lot of joy and value to our lives. Keep it up.

    Ah, those petits pains au chocolat!!

  11. 11 - Ozlem on April 2nd, 2010

    Seninle gurur duyuyorum canim arkadasim!

  12. 12 - Annie on April 3rd, 2010

    Congratulations Cenk! You’re talent makes the decision no surprise at all. I can’t wait to see where your new decision takes you.

    *Now when people ask where I got the photos on my wall, I can say, “a professional food blogger…”

    Sounds good!

  13. 13 - Savory Tv on April 3rd, 2010

    Happy Birthday! I love the salt pillar on your desk, I have one similar but it’s a round salt light, and gives the most beautiful glow.

    Have a great weekend.

  14. 14 - Julia on April 3rd, 2010

    Congratulations on both your blog’s anniversary and your decision to do what you love. This is my first time commenting here, but I love your blog and this is as good a time as any to tell you. I recently made some drastic “career changes” myself and my parents didn’t approve, either. But you know what? Parents don’t always approve, neither do they have to. Your mom will see how happy you are very soon and that will make her happy as well and convince her that you did the right thing. At least that’s what happened with my parents. 🙂

  15. 15 - Joanne on April 3rd, 2010

    Congratulations and happy birthday! here’s to many more.

  16. 16 - Manggy on April 3rd, 2010

    A full time blogger! A very big decision – and one I wish you well on. Here’s to many more years of CF! 🙂

  17. 17 - Cenk on April 3rd, 2010

    Thank you all for the wonderful messages!!

    Sara – I am planning a trip to Italy, possibly Rome. Will let you know in advance.

    Sean – Good luck to you, too! I am certain we made the right decision.

    Annie – That is the nicest thing I’ve heard today! Thank you.

    Julia – So true. Thanks for the motivation.

  18. 18 - Jill on April 3rd, 2010

    Congratulations on going full blog ahead! I found you a few years ago while surfing the web — and happened upon your “Golden Girls” post! I had tears streaming down my face and forwarded the post to many friends and relatives. You are a wonderful writer and a sensitive and talented soul. Keep blogging – and much continued success!

  19. 19 - valentina on April 3rd, 2010

    I don’t always have time to leave a comment but i subscribe to your posts and I am a huge fan. It is wonderful to see your blog maturing and your blogging life evolving. I wish you every success. You seem a really nice guy with a great blog. The pictures are great, there is some great writing..Congratulations on one more birtday. And I drink to many more to come.

  20. 20 - Angela on April 3rd, 2010

    Congratulations and best of luck!

  21. 21 - thepinkpeppercorn on April 3rd, 2010

    Awesome! Congrats on your decision – LOVE the “new office” too. All the best!

  22. 22 - Celeste on April 3rd, 2010

    Happy Birthday for your first 4 years and many more to come. Great office and keep up with the wonderful recipes.

  23. 23 - RUTH on April 3rd, 2010

    I would maybe think the same as your mom if my son would tell me something like that!!!!!!!!But I think you are right in this life “QUI NE RISQUE RIEN N´A RIEN” so I wish you good luck and the best for your new adventure.

  24. 24 - Pat on April 4th, 2010

    Happy 4th, Cenk!! Your blog deserves all the accolades; beautiful photography, great recipes -that’s what it’s all about.

  25. 25 - Laranjinha on April 4th, 2010

    Congratulations for your 4 years of blogging. I am also very happy about your decision of becoming a full-time blogger. I hope for the best.

    From a Portuguese reader,


  26. 26 - Cynthia on April 4th, 2010

    Congratulations on your blog’s 4th birthday! Continued success!

  27. 27 - Thip on April 4th, 2010

    Wow, such a big decision.
    p.s. Happy Birthday to your blog!

  28. 28 - Sarah J on April 4th, 2010

    Thank you! And Happy Birthday.

  29. 29 - nicole on April 4th, 2010

    I think Ruth said it best- CONGRATS!!!!!!!

    WOW 4 years!! I’ve only been following for about 6 months, but you made me want to become a better photographer! THANKS!

  30. 30 - Amy B. on April 4th, 2010

    Congratulations to Cafe Fernando! Keep up the good work and more power! 🙂

  31. 31 - Katie Parla on April 4th, 2010


  32. 32 - Burcu Gokce on April 4th, 2010

    Happy 4th Cenk! All these years and your blog STILL excites me. I wish you bundles of luck and support your decision as do many other Café Fernando lovers. Thank you for adding some sweetness to our lives.

  33. 33 - Geri on April 5th, 2010

    Congratulations on your wonderful decision! It is a breath of fresh air to find someone who is pursuing what truly makes them happy.
    So many today stay in meaningless deadend jobs in order to maintain an unreliable sense of security.
    You will surely succeed because you are doing what you love to do. Rejoice in the fact that you are following your hearts desire.

  34. 34 - Mariam on April 5th, 2010

    Dear Fernando, after clicking on your site every night when i get home for the past year and a half or so, only to feel disappointed that you have not yet written anything new, I am very very happy that you decided to become a full time blogger. If you ever decide to do culinary tours of Turkey or Istambul, I will enroll. I am of course appalled at the gutsy-ness of your decision and if I were your mother I would clobber you in the head with a frying pan, you irresponsible child, because it is in the nature of mothers to do this, but as a reader I could feel that your current job was perhaps taking too much life out of you, and I believe we were born to be happy, not put into paycheck slavery. So to cut a long story short, be happy and have faith, you will manage. Will carry on reading you with added pride.

  35. 35 - misk on April 5th, 2010

    great news, many happy returns and pls share ups and downs- we’ll be there! it’s not such an easy thing to make an hobby a profession, but very rewarding, i may say- from expreience :)hurraaayy

  36. 36 - misk on April 5th, 2010

    .. and, a special bunch of thanks, because u’re opening up a field of new, inspirational business for the young, talented people here! it’s quite a new sort of venture here in TR, isn’t it?

  37. 37 - Cenk on April 5th, 2010

    Jill – Thanks for the encouragement! I still have a hard time revisiting that Golden Girls post – brings back too many memories and makes me feel homesick…

    valentina, Angela, thepinkpeppercorn, Celeste, Ruth, Pat, Laranjinha, Cynthia, Thip, Sarah J, Nicole, Amy B., Katie, Burcu, Geri – Thank you all.

    Mariam – I’ll translate your comment to my mother. She’ll love this 🙂 Thank you.

    misk – Thank you! Yes, it is quite new. And there aren’t many full-time bloggers. Maybe because it is nearly impossible to make a living by blogging in Turkish. If I hadn’t blogged in English, I’d still be a slave to my paycheck.

  38. 38 - Mehmet - Resimli Yemek Tariflerim on April 5th, 2010

    What a brave decision!

    I hope you do great. But i am sure you are going to fulfill your aim, even if you are in Turkey.

    Good Luck!

  39. 39 - habanerogal on April 5th, 2010

    This is the best news hope you write lots and continue to love what you do. Just think now all of your travels are tax-deductible

  40. 40 - Nuri on April 6th, 2010

    You are an absolute encouragement for all of us who are starting a personal blog. I wish you a happy anniversary and I hope all you wish will come ture.

  41. 41 - valentina on April 6th, 2010

    Congratulations on the ward.weLl deserved.

  42. 42 - zoe on April 6th, 2010


    seeing the picture of your office… kind of imagining the person who would be desinging such office… and the colours, turquoise specially…

    you made my day… soul destroying gray days i have been going through… your picure is such a visual feast. definitely put a colourful sparkle on the horizon… thank you.

    many happy returns for Café Fernando and congrats on your decision. i will be one of your addicted readers from today onwards.

    good luck and best wishes

  43. 43 - Richard on April 6th, 2010

    Great blog……….don’t worry your mom will come around!

  44. 44 - The Hungry Mouse on April 6th, 2010

    Congrats, honey! May you have twice as many more. 😀


  45. 45 - caffettiera on April 6th, 2010

    congratulations – that is great news. I wish you tons of good luck with this move and just stay assured we’ll be there to appreciate your work! I think that being in Turkey actually adds a lot to your cooking, obviously, but also to the style of this blog, making it really stand out. Tell your mum we are all very proud of you 🙂

  46. 46 - Cathryn on April 6th, 2010

    Wonderful news! Congratualtions! I’ve been a fan for the past 4 years and will continue to be 🙂

  47. 47 - Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog on April 7th, 2010

    Wow Cenk!! Big congrats for your 4!! and full time blogger, this is a big change!

    The best of the luck for you and nice office 🙂

    All the best,


  48. 48 - Donalyn on April 7th, 2010

    Congratulations Cenk – you deserve every success and I am sure you will see that. Just awesome!

  49. 49 - Ena on April 7th, 2010

    Congrats again on the Saveur award! It’s clear you’ve made the right decision. Even bigger things are in store for you!

  50. 50 - Shy on April 7th, 2010

    Hello cenk, I have been reading your blog ever since you started and really look frwrd to ur stories and recipes. Heres wishing u all the best!!

  51. 51 - Jeanne Le on April 8th, 2010

    first thing that sticks out to me is that you use a moleskine!!

  52. 52 - Lilly on April 9th, 2010

    Congratulations! I can not wait to visit Turkey sometime and maybe even run into you on a boat. 🙂
    Looking forward to many more delightful posts!

  53. 53 - design courses on April 9th, 2010

    Well, Happy Birthday to your blog! Good decision to be a full-time blogger as a career choice.

  54. 54 - HoneyB on April 10th, 2010

    I think there are many of us who would love to be able to do what your dream is! We all have dreams that need to be pursued. While I don’t wish to be a full time blogger (I am in the process of starting a business plan for a much needed bakery in my area) I fully support your decision to do so! Only you truly know your capabilities and I applaud you for your decision. You never know unless you try. Good luck and I will keep coming back! 🙂 Oh, and happy 4th birthday!

  55. 55 - irepkrep on April 10th, 2010

    Happy Birthday to you. I am sure you will have many more glorious days to come as a full time blogger. Go Cenk go!

  56. 56 - my little expat kitchen on April 10th, 2010

    Congratulations on your four years of blogging and I wish you many many more!! What a decision, good for you! Oh and your office looks so cute 🙂
    Looking forward to many wonderful recipes from you!

  57. 57 - J2Kfm (Malaysian Food Blog) on April 11th, 2010

    Never thought of pursuing a full time career in blogging, maybe because I write mostly on food reviews and adventures, rather than recipes.
    But your site is an inspiration, and I enjoy the clean layout.
    Happy 4th Blog-Anniversary.

  58. 58 - MariannaF on April 11th, 2010

    wow, cenk you are courageous taking such a decision in this world where, with the difficult economic situation and job market, most people prefer to keep their stability.
    but since you are so talented and full of incredible potential, im sure there will be MANY good surprises waiting for you with this choice youve made!!! happy 4th and all the very best!!! cant wait to see whats coming up next!

  59. 59 - Julie on April 12th, 2010

    You were the very first food blog I ever stumbled across and I’ve been hooked ever since! I’m thrilled that we can all count on many, many more posts from you. Thanks for the inspiration!

  60. 60 - Aldy on April 13th, 2010

    Hello Cenk, I’m your New Fan! yes, just a little more than a month ago I discovered your blog and…”What can I say…B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L” 🙂

    Wish you the best and Happy 4th Blog-Anniversary!
    Ooo,and I will keep coming back!

  61. 61 - Alisa on April 13th, 2010

    Congratulations Cenk,Ive always loved your site and I wish you a better year ahead!we are always here for you 🙂

  62. 62 - Leyla Yerlikaya on April 18th, 2010

    Congratulations Cenk, You will do great and we will be there for you. Great news!

  63. 63 - George Alexander on April 18th, 2010

    Dear Cenk: Wht is your opinion of Çiya Sofrasi, on the Asian side? Big write-up in the New Yorker by Elif Batuman.

  64. 64 - Cenk on April 18th, 2010

    George – I’ve written about Çiya more than two years ago. You can find the post here.

  65. 65 - George Alexander on April 19th, 2010

    Dear Cenk: After reading your piece about Çiya Sofrasi, I think I could swim across the Bosporus to Kadıköy from Galata for a meal there, the way Lord Byron swam the Hellespont. First things first, though. I have to get myself to Istanbul from the US of A..

  66. 66 - Joanne on May 13th, 2010

    Congatulations, Cenk!

    Incidentally, your home office looks fantastic too.
    We have the same lamp – mine’s in my favourite colour, cobalt blue – but I must do something to improve the rest of my workroom – now that I have a standard to aspire to!

  67. 67 - Shaheen on June 15th, 2010

    Cenk, I’ve been a reader of yours for a few years and I’m so happy to hear that you’re becoming a full time blogger. Now we can expect more awesomeness on Cafe Fernando, can’t we? Good wishes to you for completing 4 years as well. Your mom will surely come around. Just give it a little time. My parents thought I were crazy when I told them I wanted to pursue culinary education 4 years ago. I listened to them, didn’t have much of a choice, and studied marketing and worked at an IT company. Now that they see my passion, they’re encouraging me to go to Cordon Bleu to pursue my passion.

    Again, good wishes your way, Cenk.

  68. 68 - Lisa on July 5th, 2010

    I just discovered your blog and WOW, I am very impressed with your cookign, writing and food photography skills. Most of all I am inspired by your passion, determination and courage to pursue what you love and follow where your heart leads you. I wish you all the best and many more unexpected surprises to come your way and take you places you have never dreamt of threading.


  69. 69 - Claire on September 12th, 2010

    What a roundabout world we live in, these days I travel more in the imagination than overland and having just finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s “Museum of Innocence” shortly after Elif Shafak’s “The Forty Rules of Love” I was led to your blog via a Guardian Observer blog on Istanbul and mention of the Cukurcuma district, was curious to see some images, having had my head in this quarter for the last few days (and I have never visited Turkey) – so somehow I found you and have now just finished a delicious dinner of pasta penne with roasted vegetables and of course then became curious about who is sharing this wonderful recipe with me 🙂
    So just wanted to say thanks for being the unexpected epilogue to an amazing, long book and whilst your recipes look great (and indeed taste wonderful), seeing your new desk and set-up, I do hope that you will also be penning more of the memoir type posting, after Shafak and Pamuk, I’m in the mood for a memoir of a homesick young man who returns and continues to seek and share his inspiration.
    Anyway, good luck and thanks for sharing, look forward to reading your book.

  70. 70 - Cenk on September 12th, 2010

    Claire – Thanks for the amazing comment. This is an exceptionally busy time for me (juggling too many projects with almost identical deadlines) and as much as I want to write more frequently, I simply can not find the time to concentrate. The first chance I got, I promise, I’ll write a long, memoir-type post.

  71. 71 - Mrs Ergül on February 10th, 2011

    I am 2 months short of 1 year late to the party! Congrats Cenk! And I do love Cafe Fernando!

  72. 72 - Pia on May 18th, 2011

    My goodness! I stumbled upon your blog tonight by accident (looking for a passion fruit and choc cake) and I have been stuck here for the past 45 minutes! I want to make everything from your collection of recipes…ooooh, how nice. Need sleep now, but promise I will be back very soon to try out a new recipe (think the it will have to be the L’Orange – the lacquer looks unbelievably tempting). Good luck with all and thanks for being around and sharing 🙂

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