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Born and Raised in Turkey, Gozde Balli is enjoying her life to its fullest in Santa Barbara, California

Leaving your home country to live in a foreign land can often be challenging, but that was never the case for Gozde Balli, who took to Santa Barbara like a duck to water. Born and raised in a small city called Adana – on Turkey’s Mediterranian coast – moving abroad was never part of the plan for Gozde.

Having graduated from college, she started working at Vakko, one of Turkey’s leading luxury clothing brands. Her plan was straightforward: craft a lucrative career and make a name for herself. Then, after working at Vakko for nearly seven years, she met Emre, her husband, who convinced her to move to California.

Before long, Gozde Balli traded a career in fashion for life in a foreign land. She settled in Santa Barbara with her husband. Strangely, it never felt uncomfortable. Instead, it felt like a home away from home.

Staying in your comfort zone might seem like the ideal option to most people. After all, not everyone would willingly uproot their lives and travel over 7,000 miles away, leaving their friends and family behind. But Gozde’s life has always been about venturing outside her comfort zone.

Today, Gozde Balli is a renowned influencer and content creator. She has amassed over a hundred thousand followers on her Instagram profile, documenting her relationship, life in California, and love for food and champagne. She and Emre also own The Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar in the Santa Barbara Public Market, which whips up delicious Thai comfort food and provides amazing customer service to patrons.

Interestingly, Gozde Balli never attended culinary school. Instead, she is a self-taught cook who used to help her mother in the kitchen while growing up. But that doesn’t mean you can discredit her culinary skills because Gozde can prepare deliciously-grilled lamb kebabs, chops, and sea bass. She also enjoys creating delicious salads with arugula and mixed greens. Her followers can see a glimpse of her culinary prowess on her Instagram handle.

Always a picky eater, Gozde loves cooking because she wants to consume the most nutritious and delicious ingredients. She’s always careful to select organic produce and the best meat when cooking at home. Her love for the culinary arts has helped her establish an unbreakable bond with her husband.

As far as the most memorable dining experience is concerned, she claims visiting the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, to be one of the best experiences that she has had. A night that couldn’t be forgotten, especially since Emre surprised her with a bottle of 1992 Dom Perignon Champagne – the year being instrumental because it’s also when Gozde was born.

While running a restaurant might take up most of her time, it doesn’t mean Gozde Balli has forgotten about her fashion pursuits. She loves helping her million-plus followers look good by sharing tips for dressing up on every budget. Whether it’s a skirt, dress, pants, blouse, shoes, or pursue, Gozde can help women match them with anything.

Gozde plans to establish her own fashion brand eventually. Until then, she’s enjoying life as an influencer in California. She enjoys the breathtaking views the state offers, like driving on PCH to see the gorgeous Big Sur or heading south to enjoy idyllic sunsets in Malibu and Santa Monica. She also enjoys visiting wineries in Santa Ynez or riding bikes with her husband under Santa Barbara’s palm trees. Equally, she enjoys sharing her love for cooking, fashion, and traveling with her followers. Her engaging Instagram Reels and stories attract visitors, but her good vibes and energy keep them hooked. Life is blissful and wonderful for Gozde, and it’s just the start.


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