Hello Again, World

May 04th, 2015  | Category: Cookbook

Blanche

Hello? Is there anybody out there?

I hope there is. After a two-year hiatus, it feels like I’m starting a new blog. I remember how excited I was when my blog platform WordPress published the default post – titled “Hello World” – on my very first day as a blogger. Soon I realized that starting was the easiest part; what made you a blogger was the determination and dedication you had when nobody was reading.

And then, YOU made it all worthwhile. Without your continued support and encouragement – no matter how determined I was – I don’t think I could have continued to write.

Today, I am just as excited and hope that you are on the other side of the screen with open arms.

So I have to start somewhere, right? Let’s start with Blanche. The beauty above is a berry tart from my cookbook, named after who else but Blanche Devereaux of The Golden Girls.

As most of you know, I have been working on my first cookbook for the past several years. It has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. Those of you who follow me on social media already know that it’s finally out in Turkey (and in Turkish only) and might already have an idea about what’s inside, but I felt that it was time for an official sneak peek. By the way, the English version is not officially in the works yet, but I hope to share the good news very soon.

It took me 4 years and 4 months to complete the book. It is 412 pages long. There are 103 recipes and 250 photos in total. I not only styled and took all the photos, but also designed the book myself. Here are a few details:

Golden Gate Bridge International Orange

The headings are in Golden Gate Bridge International Orange!

Esin Giz's masterpiece

Throughout the book, I’ve used Ms. Esin Giz’s masterpiece as the background for chapter openers. What you see above is just a tiny section of that masterpiece – a linen tablecloth she embroidered with butterflies when she was a teenager. That is more than 70 years ago! She was kind enough to contribute many other props as well as her decades-old elderflower cordial and sour cherry liqueur recipes for the book.

Prova

Being the control freak that I am, I oversaw the whole color conversion process (from RGB to CMYK), which took three full days. And another couple of days to print 200+ pages of color proofs, which was apparently the highest number of proofs the printing house has ever printed for a book. It was the most grueling part of the printing process. All those bright blues, greens and reds turning into muddy colors with no life. I wouldn’t wish it on my enemy. But I survived – with flying colors!

If I could have printed the book myself, I would have done that, too. This time around, I left that part to the experts. The printing company is just a couple of hours away from home, so for the first round of printing, I was there every minute of the way – approving every sample octavo sheet, comparing them with color proofs and asking far too many questions along the way, which made the technicians’ lives miserable.

But we all survived that, too!

Would you like to watch? Here you go:

72 hours later, this came out:

Cafe Fernando Cookbook 1

Cafe Fernando Cookbook 2

Cafe Fernando Cookbook 3

So, what’s in the book?

Cenk's House Cookies

The cookie chapter starts with my all-time-favorite cookies called Cenk’s House Cookies, inspired by my grandmother’s favorite Danish butter cookies. Then there’s My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pistachio & Matcha Sablés (a.k.a “Welcome to İstanbul Dear Nick Malgieri” Cookies) inspired by my visit to Sadaharu Aoki in Paris and many more for you to enjoy.

Also, my master macaron recipe (which I deem impossible to mess up) followed by four variations, one of which is the Cocoa & Chestnut Macarons:

Cocoa & Chestnut Macarons

Even though all the brownie recipes in the book are variations of my classic brownies, I believed that they deserved a chapter of their own.

The most eye-catching one is, of course, the brownies I designed for Dolce & Gabbana. The recipe is updated with the most fashionable ingredient: Blond Chocolate!

Brownie Wears Lace

Then comes the cake chapter. There are updated versions of the Double Chocolate Bundt Cake and Devil Wears Chocolate (which made it to the cover). And then there’s a Sour Cherry and Almond Upside Down Cake, which is my favorite recipe in the book. Attention!!! My favorite recipe in the book does NOT contain chocolate. It is THAT good.

The tart chapter starts with a Cafe Fernando classic: Raspberry Jewel Pluot Galette, which is inspired by a photo that David Lebovitz took at Chez Panisse’s 40th anniversary dinner.

There’s a bread and pastries chapter, followed by my favorite subject: Ice cream!

I am especially proud of the Concord Grape & Kefir Ice Cream recipe.

Concord Grape & Kefir Ice Cream

Then I delve into confections, drinks and jams. Take a look at the Vanilla & Apricot Jam.

Vanilla & Apricot Jam

And then there were interviews, book signings and instagram campaigns. The response was mind blowing. The first printing sold out in just three days, which is a first for a Turkish cookbook. The book is now in its 6th printing!

Ayşe Arman Cafe Fernando Interview

I’m so sorry for bombarding your social media feeds with posts in Turkish for the past year, but now you know exactly why.

Teşekkürler

I’ll be back with new recipes soon. In the meantime, here’s another video I’ve put together for the launch of my book:

Cafe Fernando

Cafe Fernando Cookbook

It feels amazing to be back!

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Comments

  1. 1 - Banu Bingör on May 4th, 2015

    No need to repeat but I will. I loooove you! ^_^

  2. 2 - Rosa on May 4th, 2015

    Welcome back and congratulations on the book!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. 3 - valentina on May 4th, 2015

    This is wonderful news. Lovely to have a sneak preview. I’m a big fan, and can’t wait to get my hands in an English copy whenever it comes out. Congratulations!!

  4. 4 - Anna on May 4th, 2015

    We’re here alright, glad to see you’re back.

  5. 5 - Lisa | The Viet Vegan on May 4th, 2015

    YES! I’M SO HAPPY YOU’RE BACK. I followed your blog back when I was first starting out and discovering the world of food blogs and I’m so so so elated you’ll be posting again. Your photography, recipes, styling, ALL OF IT is always an inspiration to me. I’ve always kept you in my RSS reader in hopes that one day, you’ll be posting again. Welcome back, Cenk. Congratulations on your book, it looks absolutely stunning and beautiful. Please have it translated into English, because if not, I’ll probably have to buy it in Turkish anyway and just marvel at the photos alone.

  6. 6 - Luisa on May 4th, 2015

    So happy to see you back! I can’t wait for the English version! Beautiful work.

  7. 7 - Kevin | keviniscooking on May 4th, 2015

    I for one am so excited to see you post something here! YES, I am here and hello back.

    How exciting for you, that would be such a dream having your own cookbook published. You are masterful and I am so grateful that you’re back. Now, please get the cookbook ready for us over here in California and the rest of the USA.

    Oh, and I visited Turkey last year and travelled 2,800 miles around your beautiful country and loved every second of it, the food and the warm people. Cheers!

  8. 8 - Suzan on May 4th, 2015

    Welcome back! Already bought your book, and am looking forward to your new posts. :)

  9. 9 - Maja on May 4th, 2015

    Wonderful, truely!

  10. 10 - phyllis nobles on May 5th, 2015

    It’s good to see you back here. I’ve missed your post but … congratulations on your book. I was in Istanbul for the new year and hoped to find a signing but didn’t manage to. I can’t wait to get a copy!

  11. 11 - Tony on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back – good to see. I kept your feed in my feedly RSS reader (I don’t tweet or like, so RSS works really well for me), and lo and behold, you showed up again yesterday.. Great to see, and congrats on your book. Looks beautiful. Best of luck with it – in boca lupo, as they say…

    tony

  12. 12 - Marissa on May 5th, 2015

    What a comeback Cenk! Love love love the photos. I can not wait for the english version. Keep us posted.

  13. 13 - Cenk on May 5th, 2015

    Banu, Rosa, Valentina, Anna, Luisa, Suzan, Maja, Phyllis, Tony, Marissa – Many thanks for stopping by! So good to hear from you all.

    Lisa – Thanks a lot! Hope to share the good news soon :)

    Kevin – Thank you Kevin! 2800 miles, wow! I don’t think I’ve travelled that much in my beautiful country. Happy to hear you had a great time.

  14. 14 - Polianthus on May 5th, 2015

    yep still here – totally relate to starting is easy, keeping going when nobody is reading is not so easy (especially when you wonder if it was something you wrote – just kidding :) ) – good that you are back!

  15. 15 - Melissa on May 5th, 2015

    It’s so good to see you back! And a big congrats on the cookbook. It’s looks stunning and hope that one day it can be translated into English.

  16. 16 - Beena on May 5th, 2015

    Congratulations on the launch of your cookbook! yay!!

    I am so happy to see you back here. Missed your recipes. Please give us good news about the launch of your cookbook in English so we can get out copies too. :) :) Congratuations!!

    I am in India and I shared your blog link with my friends on Facebook again last week, feeling bad that this blog wasn’t being updated. I am so glad to see you are back and that too with such a lovely news!

    Keep making fabulous and delicious food and sharing your love for cooking with all through your recipes. :)

  17. 17 - Hakan on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back, I have missed your blog and I can’t wait for the English version of your book.

  18. 18 - ELaine on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome Back! Missed your always interesting site.

  19. 19 - Judy on May 5th, 2015

    I’m so happy that you’re back Cenk! Where in Istanbul can I find your book? My Turkish isn’t perfect, but I will struggle to figure things out in Turkish anyway because I know that your recipes are fantastic.
    Congrats on the completion of your project! Keep the blog going please!

  20. 20 - Didi on May 5th, 2015

    What a beautiful thing to wake up to.
    Cheers from New York.

  21. 21 - elena on May 5th, 2015

    congratulations and welcome back! looking forward to your new recipes. i’ll be in istanbul soon and maybe i’ll be lucky enough to find your book (one more reason to start learning turkish!)

  22. 22 - Ozlem on May 5th, 2015

    Kalbim temiz mis, daha dun sizi ve blogunuzu hatirladim, ve acaba Cenk bey nerelerde diye dusundum. Tebrikler. Harika gorunuyor.

  23. 23 - Annie on May 5th, 2015

    The photos just took my breath away. Congratulations, Cenk!

  24. 24 - Chani on May 5th, 2015

    Well done and Welcome back !

  25. 25 - megan on May 5th, 2015

    Hi, Cenk! I have been keeping you on my subscriptions list, hoping that someday you would post again :) It was worth the wait! Thanks for the lovely pictures and congratulations on your book! I look forward to reading new posts from you!

  26. 26 - Sarvani (baker in disguise) on May 5th, 2015

    It’s been a really loooong time, hasn’t it?! I blinked twice when I saw your mail in the inbox!! Well.. congratulations on your book..now only if it were in English!! I remember those D&G brownies so clearly.. so please do start blogging again!!

  27. 27 - Sophie Kamveris on May 5th, 2015

    Bravo! And welcome back!! Can’t wait for the English version. I have shared your info on my Facebook page to spread the word.

  28. 28 - Martha Hopkins on May 5th, 2015

    Love the look inside the pages. Magnificent work! Cannot wait for English version.

  29. 29 - Peter Gordon on May 5th, 2015

    WELCOME BACK!! Your book is beautiful! Please put me down for an English language copy as my Turkish is not sufficient to do recipes.

  30. 30 - Viktorija on May 5th, 2015

    Congratulations on your book! Now you just need to hurry up with the English version, because those photos look so mouthwatering!!!

  31. 31 - SilBsAs on May 5th, 2015

    It seems clear we are all SO happy you’re back!!!
    I hope you can publish in English, I’d be the first Argentina fan buying it!!!
    Welcome back, we love you =)

  32. 32 - procrastinate on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back :-)
    We have checked here when you were away, it’s great to hear from you finally. Your recepies are the best. So, don’t deprive us from them :-)

  33. 33 - Annie Fenn on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back!! The last time I checked your blog, you were up to your elbows in pomegranates, your kitchen akin to a crime scene. Glad that worked out ok. Anxiously awaiting your English book from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

  34. 34 - Jenny on May 5th, 2015

    Yeah! So glad you are back! The world missed you!

  35. 35 - sandy lister on May 5th, 2015

    So glad you are back as you were missed and I cannot wait till we get the book in English.

  36. 36 - Becca from It's Yummi! on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts terribly.. and congratulations on your gorgeous cookbook. Now please get yourself a publisher in the United States PRONTO, because we deserve to cook from that book, too!

  37. 37 - Richard on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back! You have been missed that is for sure. Congratulations on finally finishing the cookbook and we all look forward to the English version.

  38. 38 - Joycelin on May 5th, 2015

    So excited to see that you are back. Your photographs and recipes inspire. Can’t wait to see your cookbook, in English – congratulations!

  39. 39 - Poppy Quintal on May 5th, 2015

    SO glad you are back! I have missed your presence. :)

  40. 40 - ruth on May 5th, 2015

    Hello Dear I was wondering where you had gone!!!! Congratulations!

  41. 41 - Lale Gedik on May 5th, 2015

    I was waiting for your book to come out and literally pounced on it when it finally arrived at Remzi Suadiye. Congrats! From the heart and sophisticated all rolled up in a sleek format. Sure the recipes are great, we already knew that didn’t we – but the food styling and the photography? Wow! I think you could moonlight as a food stylist and photographer as well as writer and cook. Thanks for raising the bar and bringing baking to a new high!

  42. 42 - Nina on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back, I have missed your blog and I can’t wait for the English version of your book.

  43. 43 - erin {yummy supper} on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back! And huge congrats on your beautiful book. I was just having lunch with Carole Bidnick last week and she was telling me what a stunner it is! So looking forward to seeing it.
    All best,
    E

  44. 44 - Fragolina on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back Cenk… Congrats on your book, it looks amazing.. I’m traveling another time( my 4th) to Istanbul, this time with family. we really enjoy Istanbul mesmerizing sceneries. I want to try new food places, not touristic. any suggestions?
    thanks.

  45. 45 - Cenk on May 5th, 2015

    Polianthus, Melissa, Hakan, Elaine, Didi, Annie, Chani, Martha Hopkins, procrastinate, Jenny, sandy lister, Richard, Joycelin, Poppy Quintal, ruth, Nina, erin – Thank you guys! Your support & encouragement is very much appreciated.

    Beena – Thanks for putting in a good word for me :) I really appreciate it. I’m doing everything I can to make the English version possible.

    Judy – Thank you! You can find it in pretty much every bookstore in town. Try D&R or Remzi. Or go to my favorite bookstore in town – Minoa. They carry lots of English cookbooks, too.

    elena – Thanks! Hope you like it. Please see above for a link to my favorite bookstore in Istanbul.

    Ozlem – Çok teşekkür ederim :)

    megan – I’m so glad to hear you’ve kept me in the list. Thank you!

    Sarvani – Yes, it has! Hopefully, it will be – soon.

    Sophie Kamveris – Thanks for spreading the word!

    Peter Gordon – Thanks! And done!

    Viktorija – Thanks a lot. I’m working on it as we speak :)

    SilBsAs – Thank you! I love you, too!

    Annie Fenn – I’m always up to my elbows in pomegranates :) Thank you!

    Becca – Thank you. I’ll do everything I can.

    Lale Gedik – Wow! Thanks a lot for your kind words :)

    Fragolina – Thank you! I’ll send you my list of recommendations via e-mail. Hope you have a great time in Istanbul.

  46. 46 - Natalia on May 5th, 2015

    You are again , I’m happy ! Welcome back ! Book – congratulations ! Natalia from Poland

  47. 47 - Kelly James on May 5th, 2015

    Welcome back! Congrats on the book. I did not realize just how much i missed your blog until the email notification came through today. I can’t wait to get my hands on an English copy of Cafe Fernando.

  48. 48 - Maria on May 5th, 2015

    I would have waited as many years as it took you to make a comeback. So glad to see you so happy, you deserved it. Warmest hug.

  49. 49 - orin on May 5th, 2015

    First congratulation, it look amazing from what you share. now my question i show can i buy it in the USA?

  50. 50 - Modernity on May 5th, 2015

    Great to see you

  51. 51 - Kendra on May 5th, 2015

    I for one think you are completely and totally MEAN. Yes, mean to the core!! …you know, for posting all these yummy-sounding recipes and photos and them telling me (several times) that it’s not in English and then stabbing the knife even deeper by saying that translation is not even in the works yet????? AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH
    ya killin’ me homes….just killin me! :)

  52. 52 - Martha on May 5th, 2015

    Delighted to see you back, Cenk!
    Looking forward to seeing what is in store for you – and us! – in the coming times!

  53. 53 - lien on May 6th, 2015

    Great to hear from you again! the book looks beautiful, congratulations and best wishes :-)

  54. 54 - Angelica del Valle on May 6th, 2015

    Welcome back Fernando. Please advise us on the english version of your book. I love you blog. Please keep on.

  55. 55 - leila on May 6th, 2015

    AMAZING!!!!!!
    please please please a version in english… it will take me too long to google translate all your recipes!!! :)
    a fan who dreams of cookbooks…

  56. 56 - Espahan on May 6th, 2015

    Welcome back. I wondered what had happened to you. I always found your recipes very interesting and different. Congratulations on what looks like a beautiful book

  57. 57 - Shelby on May 6th, 2015

    Welcome back, Cenk. I’ll be the first one to buy!

  58. 58 - Cenk on May 6th, 2015

    Natalia, Kelly James, Modernity, Martha, lien, Angelica del Valle, leila, Espahan, Shelby – Thank you.

    Maria – You’re very kind. Thanks a lot!

    orin – There are three independent bookstores selling it on Amazon, but the price is just ridiculous. D&R in Turkey told me that they ship to the U.S., but their website is in Turkish.

    Kendra – Sorry for being mean :) I’m doing everything in my power to make the English version possible. Will update when I know more.

  59. 59 - Annamaria on May 6th, 2015

    You made me surprise twice throughout that long period I have been reading your blog often swallowing my saliva when I was admiring your beautiful photos. The first surprise was to discover that you are a man. Somehow I thought about you to be a woman. Now, here is the second, also very pleasant surprise, your appearance and your baby book :) . I am happy for you and happy for your book! Congratulation to you. Enjoy your well earned success.

    Love from one of your readers :)

  60. 60 - Betül on May 6th, 2015

    I can’t wait for the English print to offer it to my friends as a gift :)

    looking forward for it!

    Betül

  61. 61 - Shanna on May 6th, 2015

    Wow! Congratulations on an AMAZING, beautiful feat. I can’t wait for the English version. Your photography is stunning. I’m in love!

  62. 62 - Cindy on May 6th, 2015

    Yippee! Happy to see “Café Fernando” in my inbox – and happier to hear the news of your book. Looks beautiful and looking forward to an English edition ASAP! Congratulations and well done – and welcome back!

  63. 63 - Mashup on May 7th, 2015

    Hello!!!! Thrilled to have Cafe Fernando back!!!!
    Oh my oh my the book!!!!!

  64. 64 - Sue on May 7th, 2015

    A very welcome return, and congratulations. You deserve success after long hard work. PLEASE go ahead soon with an English translation of the book, I must have a copy or I will simply die!

  65. 65 - Pietro on May 7th, 2015

    Welcome back Fernando!

  66. 66 - Katie Parla on May 8th, 2015

    amazing! that video is intense: ) welcome back, friend! xo

  67. 67 - Nick on May 12th, 2015

    Welcome back, indeed. I cried when I watched the videos – the book is SO beautiful…

  68. 68 - Angela on May 13th, 2015

    Welcome back.Can’t wait to buy your book in English!

  69. 69 - Cenk on May 13th, 2015

    Nick – Ok, now you’re going to make me cry! Thank you, Nick.

  70. 70 - Irina V on May 14th, 2015

    Welcome back! I’ve been waiting and watching for two years so can’t wait to get your gorgeous recipes in my inbox again!

  71. 71 - Angus on May 17th, 2015

    I’m salivating so much I’m in danger of shorting out my keyboard! Okay, that sounds gross, but I am so excited about your cookbook. My Turkish sucks (actually it’s non-existent) so I say bring on the English version! Very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!
    You, my friend, are a STAR!

  72. 72 - Sophia on May 21st, 2015

    Welcome back!! can’t wait for your cookbook in english….i’m so glad i decided to check on your blog to see it up and running again :)

  73. 73 - M on May 24th, 2015

    Oh- such Marvelous news Cenk!!

    I’m beyond thrilled to hear your book is in it’s 6th (SIXTH!!) printing after being out for three days. That is absolutely amazing but not surprising. You are such a masterful creator.

    Thank you for coming back, even if it’s sporadic.

  74. 74 - Nadia on May 31st, 2015

    I was looking for an original recipe on this sunday morning and oh my god…You’re back :) )) I love you blog, your recipes so look &taste amazing, your photos really make want to travel… really missed you& Really looking forward an English version of your cookbook… Your my best food blog! Nadia

  75. 75 - Azra on June 2nd, 2015

    Great to see you back, can’t wait for the English version!

  76. 76 - m on June 10th, 2015

    super…..the photos are fab hope the english edition is out soon [ even if it is in american and the 'madning' cup measures]….but hoping that the recipes includes grams too

  77. 77 - Karen on June 17th, 2015

    Please tell me your book will be published in English. I must have it!

  78. 78 - Cenk on June 24th, 2015

    Karen – I hope to give you the good news soon.

  79. 79 - Cenk on June 24th, 2015

    m – The recipes will definitely include grams!

  80. 80 - esha shrestha on June 28th, 2015

    Cenk, you are back in action. I am so happy to see the new posts. Congratulations on the book, i couldn’t happier for you. Is it available asia? When will the english version be out? I look forward to new recipes from you….welcome backkkkkkkk…

  81. 81 - Cenk on June 29th, 2015

    esha shrestha – Thank you! It isn’t available in Asia. I’m working towards publishing it in English, but no exact plans as of yet. I’ll keep you guys posted about it.

  82. 82 - Adela on July 29th, 2015

    Welcome back, Cenk!

    The book is just … WOW! Looking forward to the English version, too (I know I am like the nth person telling this), and am even close to ordering the Turkish version even if I don’t understand a thing, just because it’s so beautiful.

    P.S.
    Drooling all over the new recipes. Thank you for making time to share them. :)

  83. 83 - ajlan on August 6th, 2015

    Cenk, The Man!
    I am so happy to see you back. I was hoping to see new post , since i did not check for a while . Seriously I am giddy to read what I missed .
    Bu kadar guzel site , emek verildigi her kosesinden , pixelinden anlasilan bir site , zor bulunur.
    Eline saglik , emegine saygi, kalemine kuvvet .

  84. 84 - Didi on August 24th, 2015

    https://www.facebook.com/orbay/videos/10155980010655331/?l=1832039154400702211

    Neler yapiyorum bir bilseniz. 8 senedir NY’dayim. Bir cok restaurantta mudurluk yaptim. Her isin her kosesinden tuttum. Simdi ise bir delilik yapiyorum. Ortagimla Williamsburg’de Cuma gunu cok ufak bir yer kiraladik. (attached video)
    Ben su ana kadar bir cok kitap alip bir cok tarif denesem de boyle birseye girecegim aklimin ucuna gelmezdi. Mediterranean grab and go agirlikli bir yer olacak herhalde. Oturmadan alip gidecekler. Insallah tabii. :) Oturacak yer yok cunku.. :) ))
    Kitabinizi karistiriyorum. Blogdan cikmiyorum. Neler yapabilirim hemen hazirlamali oradan oraya atliyorum, arastiriyorum.
    Cok korkuyorum ama cok bir umutluyum.
    Belki guzel bir pogaca cikartirim, acik sandwichler yaparim, mis gibi kahve satarim. Simdi Fistikella’yi yaptim. Mis mis..
    Bekleriz. Cok seviniriz.
    Didi

  85. 85 - Andrea Young on November 30th, 2015

    I haven’t followed your blog in many years, but tonight I thought of you and wondered about the cookbook you were working on. I couldn’t remember your site but all I had to do was Google (Turkish blogger + golden girls) and I found you again! I even went onto David Leibovitz site to get a clue to your blog because I remember you mentioned him in on of your posts, anyway I was saved by those Golden Girls. I’m so excited to find your blog, it’s like finding your lost friend, an imaginary friend, but still a friend.
    Andrea from Berkeley, CA

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