Cited as one of America’s “best creative fusion practitioners,” Seattle-born Ana Sortun graduated from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine de Paris before opening Moncef Medeb’s Aigo Bistro in Concord, Massachusetts, in the early 1990s. Following stints at 8 Holyoke and Casablanca in Harvard Square, she opened Oleana in 2001, immediately drawing raves for dishes that The New York Times described as “rustic-traditional and deeply inventive.” Corby Kummer has hailed Ana’s “culinary genius” in both Boston Magazine and Saveur. Awarded the “Best Chef: Northeast” honor by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, her cookbook, SPICE: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, was published in 2006 and has become a bestseller.
Sortun and business partner Executive Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick opened Sofra Bakery & Café in Cambridge (2008), which offers a unique style of foods and baked goods influenced mostly by the countries of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece.
In the autumn of 2013, Ana partnered with her long-time Chef de Cuisine, Cassie Piuma, in opening Sarma, a traditional Meyhane (Turkish tavern-style) restaurant and bar in Somerville, which features an entire menu of Meze, or ‘small plates.’
Throughout her culinary career, Sortun has demonstrated a strong commitment to local fresh produce and high quality artisan ingredients. Her husband, Chris Kurth, owns a farm in the Sudbury River Valley, just outside Boston. Siena Farms provides Sortun’s restaurants with most of its fresh produce and is named after the couple’s daughter. In 2014, Siena Farms and Chef Sortun collaborated on a Kids’ Share - a weekly CSA box-share of vegetables, activities and kitchen gear designed to inspire kids to enjoy cooking healthy foods.
When she is not at one of the restaurants, you might find Ana on a culinary tour of Turkey with the Oldways Preservation Trust, which provide tours and educational programs focused on good health and eating.
Most recently, Ana was a semi-finalist, ‘Outstanding Chef’ for the 2015 James Beard Award.