Ana Sortun and Ihsan Gurdal




Thursday, December 2, 2010, 6 p.m.
Boston University Food and Wine Program
Fuller Building, 808 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Click here for directions

Thank you for your kind interest. This event is SOLD OUT.

Chef Ana Sortun of "Oleana Restaurant" and "Sofra Bakery and Café" in Cambridge teams up with the "cheesemeister" Ihsan Gurdal, owner of Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, South End and New York City, to present an evening of exquisite food, accompanied by distinctive wines of Kavaklidere winery from Anatolia.


Flavors of Anatolia


Ana SortunANA SORTUN, chef/owner, Oleana

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, is already a best seller according to the Boston Globe and the LA Times. "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," says Amy Scattergood of the LA Times. Spice received a nomination for Best International Cookbook by the James Beard Foundartion.

Siena Farms, established in 2006, is a 50 acre family farm in Sudbury, Massachusetts owned and farmed by Chef Sortun’s husband, Chris Kurth. The farm is named after their daughter Siena. The farm provides the restaurant all of its fresh organic produce during the growing seasonn.

August 2008, Cambridge welcomed Sofra Bakery & Café. Sofra is an Arabic word that means a picnic on a rug; a low communal table; a small square kilim rug to eat on; a large coffee table; a special table preparation.Sofra’s menu is the strong vision of both Chef Ana Sortun and Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick to create a unique style of foods and baked goods, inspired mostly by Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece.


Ihsan GurdalIHSAN GURDAL, owner, Formaggio Kitchen

Ihsan Gurdal was born and raised in Istanbul surrounded by a culture famous for its bazaars full of varied flavors and fragrances. He added his own twist to this mix by becoming a star volleyball player and in 1976 he participated in the Olympics as a member of the Turkish Olympic volleyball team. In 1977, he left Istanbul to pursue a college education at UC Berkley. As a student at Berkley he played volleyball and tapped into his natural appreciation of specialty food by working at a local wine shop. In 1982, he took advantage of an offer to become head volleyball coach at Harvard University and left Berkley for Cambridge, Massachusetts. While in Cambridge, he kept his interest in food alive by working at a small specialty food store called Formaggio Kitchen. Soon after starting his work at the shop, he became manager and cheese buyer.

Following his retirement from Harvard volleyball, Ihsan Gurdal was able to put all of his energy into Formaggio Kitchen. In 1992, he took over ownership of the shop and since that time has presided over the shop's development into one of the leading retailers of gourmet foods in the country. He has worked extensively with celebrated cheese makers and affineurs throughout the United States and Europe, including Neal's Yard Dairy of London, Pascal Jacquin of France's Loire Valley, and Paris' Fromagerie Barthelmy. His travels around the world have brought to Formaggio Kitchen an unparalleled selection of rare and unique cheeses and fine foods from around the world. Many have been introduced to the US for the first time and are only available from Formaggio Kitchen.

In 2006 Ihsan Gurdal was inducted into the Guilde du Fromage by Roland Barthelemy.

On November 10, 2008 Gurdal received the title of Chevalier of the Ordre du Mérite Agricole from the French government. This title was given for his tireless work in supporting French agricultural artisans by introducing his stateside customers to their hand-crafted products. Other American recipients of this prestigous title include Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, Paul Prudhomme, Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch.


Co-presented with the Boston University Food and Wine Program