Ana Sortun

In her memoir, Eating My Words, food writer Mimi Sheraton included Ana Sortun as one of the country’s “best creative fusion practitioners,” describing the chef’s food as “inspired and inspiring.” With a degree from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, the Seattle-born 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. When Sortun opened Oleana in 2001, she quickly drew raves for her creative combination of farm-fresh ingredients and eastern Mediterranean spice blends. Sortun’s food, explained Catherine Reynolds in the New York Times, “is at once rustic-traditional and deeply inventive.” After a visit to Boston, Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post wrote of Oleana, ”Should you have time for only one place to eat, make it this space.” The judges of the Beard Foundation awards certainly agreed, as they awarded Sortun The Best Chef: Northeast honor in 2005. Chef Sortun’s cookbook, SPICE; Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, published in May 2006 by Regan Books, celebrated a nomination by the James Beard Foundation for Best Cookbook and is a best seller according to the Boston Globe and LA Times. Amy Scattergood of the LA Times writes, “This is not fusion food, nor has Sortun forced any technique or tradition. Instead she has allowed the flavors of the regional food, and her tangible love of it, to determine her cooking — and her cookbook.” In 2006 came the addition of Siena Farms, owned and farmed by Chef Sortun’s husband, Chris Kurth. The farm, named after their adorable daughter Siena, provides the restaurant with most of its fresh organic produce. Learn more about Ana Sortun.