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Gozde Balli: Santa Barbara home cooking expert’s journey via social media

Social media has opened doors to the lives of many people around the world, and we get to witness what they do in their lives. Whether it is dining out, vacationing, cooking at home or how they raise their kids, we all enjoy following some interesting individuals who are making life easier and entertaining people across the world through their reels and stories. These people are aptly called social media influencers. There are many types of influencers – from health to lifestyle to parenting and beauty; you name it, and there is an influencer who can make things more convenient for you. 

Gozde Balli is a home cooking expert, social media influencer and an entrepreneur. Born and raised in Adana, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Gozde Balli moved to California after marrying her husband, Emre. Initially, it seemed challenging to move thousands of miles away from family and friends, but with the support of her husband, she took the plunge and started her life in Santa Barbara, California. 

Talking about her experience as an influencer, she says, “I love being an influencer, especially in California. That’s why I have added California at the end of my social media username as well. I simply love living and exploring the city. There are so many things to see, visit different places and tons of people to meet.”

She further went on to say, “You can drive on PCH up north to see gorgeous Big Sur or back south to watch sunsets in Malibu and Santa Monica. Wineries over Santa Ynez, bike rides under the Palm Trees, there is so much that makes this city and country beautiful. There are so many different restaurants I can visit and share them with my followers, so they know what to choose from the next time they dine out.”

Gozde Balli did not attend any culinary institute and is a self-taught cook. As a kid, she used to help her mother in the kitchen, and that’s where she developed an interest in grilling lamb kebabs, chops, and sea bass, creating delicious salads with arugula and mixed greens, etc. She is very picky when it comes to food and drinks and carefully picks meat, organic produce and other ingredients when she is cooking at home, ensuring the best possible taste. Her kitchen is always spotless, and while she cooks, she sets her table with candles, shiny glasses and perfectly matching napkins and silverware to give everyone a feel of a restaurant at home. 

It was because of her attention to detail and her delicious, innovative cooking that she decided to start her own restaurant, Empty Bowl – Gourmet Noodle Bar. As the name suggests, they provide Thai comfort food, mostly noodles. “Staying in your comfort zone might be safe. But sometimes making a decision and going with that might completely change your life,” shares Gozde Balli. “I left my job and moved 7000 miles away from my family and friends. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy, but Santa Barbara made me feel like home away from home.”

This is also one of the reasons she started making reels and posting stories on her social media handles. She gets excited and motivated while creating content. Whether she is driving, traveling, biking, drinking champagne, attending a show, cooking or dressing, she creates content that people like. She not only posts pictures or videos but finds the perfect music to go with her reels and keeps positive energy and vibes going throughout. Gozde has more than 100K followers on Instagram who are hooked to her creativity and skills. 

Her biggest achievement is her followers. “I have over a million followers, and I show them how to dress up in every budget. There are so many people who can’t decide what to wear every day, and some of them think expensive brands are the key. But it’s not true. I can match any dress, skirt, pants, blouse, purse, or shoes for ladies to make them feel trendy and comfortable at the same time,” shares Gozde Balli. 

The home cooking expert hopes to establish her own fashion brand in the near future as that is something close to her heart after cooking and traveling. Since she is doing rounds on the first two, she is now focused on embarking on her third dream. Her social media followers have endorsed her skills as a cook and follow her for her fashion trends, which has given her the confidence to take it seriously so that she can bring fashion to women that they can carry on in a limited budget without compromising on style. 

Gozde Balli is an inspiration to people who start their lives afresh in a new country with no former contacts or resources. She built her life from scratch and encourages others to do the same; all they need is a passion for something and learning the skills to master their passion.

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