Ana Sortun

Do you want to work with Ana? Click here!

With a degree from École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, the Seattle-born Ana Sortun opened Moncef Medeb’s Aigo Bistro in Concord, Massachusetts, in the early 1990s; stints at 8 Holyoke and Casablanca in Harvard Square, Cambridge soon followed.

This was all in the beginning of her career, when Sortun was still cooking what most people think of as typical Mediterranean food from Spain, southern France, and Italy. People loved it. While at Casablanca, a friend of the owner invited Sortun to study in Turkey.

Not knowing anything about Turkish food or culture but eager to learn, she accepted. (“I imagined flying carpets and genies,” she says wryly.) But when she arrived in southeastern Turkey, Sortun’s host and her friends presented a potluck of sorts. “I tasted 30 amazing dishes from these women’s family repertoires,” Sortun remembers. “I was stunned at how rich and interesting yet light everything was.”

That trip was when she learned that in the Mediterranean, spice is used to create richness, depth and flavor – without adding heaviness. She also experienced the mezze style of eating, which is to have many tastes of mostly vegetable-based dishes before reaching a protein course. “Chefs always focus on flavor and appearance,” says Sortun, “but few think about how one feels after eating a long meal.”

Upon her return to Boston, she wanted to fuse her newfound love of Eastern Mediterranean spices with her passion for using only the best ingredients. The result of this union was Oleana, which opened in Cambridge in 2001. A mere four years later, Sortun won a coveted and prestigious James Beard Award.

Sortun’s commitment to locally grown food took a turn for the personal when a farmer selling spinach turned up at the back door of Oleana one day. “I knew then that I would marry him,” Sortun says. Since 2006, Siena Farms has been providing the restaurant with most of its fresh, organic produce. It is owned and farmed by the chef’s husband, Chris Kurth, and named after the couple’s daughter.

Not content to rest on their laurels, Sortun, business partner Gary Griffin, and pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick decided they wanted to launch a more casual venue. Three years of brainstorming later, in August of 2008, Sofra was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This Middle Eastern bakery, café, and retail shop offers flatbread sandwiches, mezzes, prepared foods, and baked goods. It has received both local and national press; Food & Wine, Metropolitan Home, and Gourmet have all featured it as a place not to miss.

Spokesperson
Author
  1. Chelsea Cole - A Duck's Oven - headshot - author - blogger

    Chelsea Cole

  2. Saeng Douangdara

  3. Lily Payen

  4. Headshot of Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

    Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  5. Headshot of Marryn Mathis

    Marryn Mathis

  6. Headshot of Julia Dzafic

    Julia Dzafic

  7. Headshot of Muhammad Abdul-Hadi

    Muhammad Abdul-Hadi

  8. Headshot of Jaine Mackievicz

    Jaíne Mackievicz

  9. Headshot of Monti Carlo

    Monti Carlo

  10. Headshot of Justin Burke

    Justin Burke

  11. Headshot of Beejhy Barhany

    Beejhy Barhany

  12. Headshot of Amethyst Ganaway

    Amethyst Ganaway

  13. Headshot of Crystal Wahpepah

    Crystal Wahpepah

  14. Headshots of Sammy Monsour and Kassady Wiggins

    Sammy Monsour and Kassady Wiggins

  15. Headshot of Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD

    Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD

  16. Headshot of Lauren Stauble

    Lauren Stauble

  17. Headshot of Alyssa Campbell

    Alyssa Campbell

  18. Headshot of Michele Song

    Michele Song

  19. Headshot of Judi Leib

    Judi Leib

  20. Headshot of Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

    Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  21. Headshot of Crystal Wilkinson

    Crystal Wilkinson

  22. Headshot of Pam Victor

    Pam Victor

  23. Headshot of Frankie Gaw

    Frankie Gaw

  24. Headshot of Jessica Formicola

    Jessica Formicola

  25. Headshot of Brian Noyes

    Brian Noyes

  26. Headshot of Lori Shaw

    Lori Shaw

  27. Headshot of Matthew Raiford

    Matthew Raiford

  28. Headshot of Amy Condon

    Amy Paige Condon

  29. Headshot of Mark Bologna

    Mark Bologna

  30. Headshot of Julia Skinner, PhD

    Julia Skinner, PhD

  31. Soom Sisters Headshots

    Soom Sisters

  32. Headshot of Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

    Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  33. Headshot of Cynthia Graubart

    Cynthia Graubart

  34. Headshot of Angela Garbacz

    Angela Garbacz

  35. Headshot of Haile Thomas

    Haile Thomas

  36. Headshot of Maria Hines

    Maria Hines

  37. eventide logo

    Eventide Oyster Co.

  38. Headshot of Bobbi Wegner

    Bobbi Wegner

  39. Headshot of Philia Kelnhofer

    Philia Kelnhofer

  40. Headshot of Lauren Toyota

    Lauren Toyota

  41. Headshot of Elizabeth Sims

    Elizabeth Sims

  42. Headshot of Laura Bashar

    Laura Bashar

  43. Headshot of Matthew Prescott

    Matthew Prescott

  44. Headshot of Keith Pandolfi

    Keith Pandolfi

  45. Headshot of Todd Richards

    Todd Richards

  46. Headshot of Shaye Elliott

    Shaye Elliott

  47. Headshot of Ericka C

    Erika Council

  48. Headshot of Lead Segedie

    Leah Segedie

  49. Headshot of Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  50. Headshot of Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  51. Headshot of Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  52. Author Ford Fry

    Ford Fry

  53. Headshot of Sherrie Castellano

    Sherrie Castellano

  54. Headshot of Maura Kilpatrick

    Maura Kilpatrick

  55. William Woys Weaver

    William Woys Weaver

  56. Rick Woodford

    Rick Woodford

  57. Anne Willan

    Anne Willan

  58. Headshot of Dan Whalen

    Dan Whalen

  59. Jeff Weiss photo

    Jeff Weiss

  60. Katie Webster

    Katie Webster

  61. Headshot of Sherri Brooks Vinton

    Sherri Brooks Vinton

  62. Headshot of Andreas Viestad

    Andreas Viestad

  63. Headshot of Barbara Unell

    Barbara Unell

  64. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  65. Headshot of Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  66. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  67. Natalie Slater

  68. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  69. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  70. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  71. Betty Rosbottom

  72. Author photo of Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

    Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  73. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  74. Headshot of A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  75. Headshot of Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  76. Neka Pasquale

    Neka Pasquale

  77. Headshot of Kim O'Donnell

    Kim O’Donnel

  78. Brittany Nickerson

    Brittany Nickerson

  79. Headshot of June Naylor

    June Naylor

  80. Authors Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

    Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  81. Irv Miller

    Irv Miller

  82. Jennifer McGruther

    Jennifer McGruther

  83. ekus group icon

    Patricia Pinner McAdams

  84. Evan Mallett

    Evan Mallett

  85. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  86. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  87. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  88. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  89. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  90. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  91. Headshot of Steven C. Kolpan

    Steven Kolpan

  92. Jennifer Justus

    Jennifer Justus

  93. David Joachim

    David Joachim

  94. Lisa Howard

    Lisa Howard

  95. beth hillson

    Beth Hillson

  96. Kathy Hester

    Kathy Hester

  97. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

    Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

  98. ekus group icon

    Chris & Idie Hastings

  99. Julie Hasson

    Julie Hasson

  100. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  101. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  102. Headshot of Lisa Fetterman

    Lisa Fetterman

  103. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  104. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  105. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  106. Headshot of Fran Costigan

    Fran Costigan

  107. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  108. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  109. Headshot of Ashley Blom

    Ashley Blom

  110. Headshot of Stacie Billis

    Stacie Billis

  111. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  112. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  113. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  114. Headshot of Toby Amidor

    Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND

  115. Headshot of Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  116. Debbie Adler

  117. Headshot of Kevin Gillespie

    Kevin Gillespie