Dissertation to Dessert: Alum Hatice Yildiz Brings Turkish Treats to East Bay

Friday, July 12, 2019
Photo of Hatice Yildiz standing at table with her baked goods
Photo courtesy of Simurgh Bakery

BERKELEYSIDE -- Moments after meeting Hatice Yildiz, I understand why she declined a career in academia to open Simurgh Bakery. Even after obtaining two graduate degrees — her passion for baking is undeniable. So too is her expertise. Simurgh’s pistachio baklava boasts paper-thin layers of flaky phyllo dough that deliver a cartoonish crunch and envelop a core of plentiful green nuts. You can find that baklava, as well as Simurgh Bakery’s other Turkish treats, on weekends at the Grand Lake and Kensington farmers markets.

After a brief stint in Illinois, the pair moved to the Bay Area. She obtained a master’s degree in History at San Francisco State University, followed by a doctorate in Islamic studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.