Growing up in Ankara, life led me to the lovely village of Gümüşlük when I was 25 in 1994, a fresh bride full of dreams. "What a charming fishing village! I'll make it my home," I thought, even though figuring out 'how' was a puzzle. There were limited options: either a fish restaurant or a grocery store 🤓
I chose the fish restaurant, and on the day of the grand opening, KARAF was born... That's when I truly learned the ropes. I, who could barely tell anchovies from smelts, threw myself into hard work, learning, experimenting, making mistakes, until I became one with the kitchen. New flavors and dishes began to dance in my dreams. I was a determined boss, with my braided hair, became the proud owner of a popular restaurant in Gümüşlük, finding joy in a peaceful life in Bodrum all year round.
In 1998, my daughter Maya, the apple of my eye, entered our lives. We spent winters in Ankara, and Karaf welcomed its second branch. The story that followed was a journey of passion and hard work. We ventured into diverse menus in Karaf's second branch in Nişantaşı and eventually found our home by the Bosphorus – 'G by Karaf'! After tireless work until 2005, there were confusing moments, "I thought I'd live a quiet life in the village, what's happening?" This led to a temporary goodbye to the industry.
Then came 2015, a friend called, talking about a beautiful restaurant by the Bosphorus. (I guess the love for the sea is a funny part of growing up in Ankara, how odd! 🙄) It was love at first sight. Kiss the Frog was born from a deep desire for a place that felt like a fairy tale, coupled with an irresistible urge to indulge. Eight years later, I still come to work with endless excitement, never losing my energy, and I've influenced my colleagues to be just like me.