Rather than beginning her career in the kitchen, the first step that Ana Sortun took on her path towards chef-dom was to enroll in L'Ecole Francaise in her hometown Seattle at the age of 17. After receiving her fluency degree in French two years later, Ana moved to Paris, where she attended the La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine culinary school and worked as a stagiare.
She received her Grande Diplome from La Varenne and a diploma for wine studies from L'Academie du Vin.
With Aigo Bistro owner Moncef Medeb, Ana went on to open 8 Holyoke restaurant in Cambridge, where she developed a menu that combined her classic French training with Mediterranean influences. At 8 Holyoke, Esquire Magazine called Ana "a rising star in Boston's culinary landscape."
She was subsequently hired as Executive Chef of Casablanca restaurant in January 1996, where her cuisine garnered numerous accolades and press coverage including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Playboy, Bon Appetit Food & Wine, Gourmet and Boston magazines.
Ana credits her travels abroad as a major influence in her cooking. She apprenticed at the 2-star Michelin rated Neichel Restaurant in Barcelona, Spain a well as spent time in top kitchens in Turkey, Italy and France. Oleana, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ana's first restaurant, is a culmination of all of her experiences thus far.
Her menu, featuring unconventional spice combinations and flavors from the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, has unparalleled originality and flare. The James Beard Foundation nominated Ana in 2003 in its Best Chef: Northeast category, and Oleana was among the 2002 nominees in the Best New Restaurant category. Additionally, Boston Magazine, Food & Wine, The Boston Phoenix, Bon Appetit and BostonCitySearch.com named Oleana "Best New Restaurant" in 2001. Oleana was also named one of the "Best New Restaurants in America" by Esquire Magazine and "Restaurant of the Year" by The Boston Phoenix.