CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 14 Sci-Fi & Fantasy - Page 89

cookbooks. AS: Travel is research. Many trips abroad and lots of reading. Lots of tasting (sometimes 4 lunches in one day and lots of watching. What are your current favorite cookbooks and why? MF: My new favorite is Dana Cree Hello, My Name is Ice Cream, because I would love to add ice cream to our Sofra selection in the future (a dream of mine). AS: I love the Deborah Madison’s in my kitchen right now. I also am enjoying Oklava, Istanbul (by Rebecca Seal), and The Spice Companion. Ana, I read in Soframiz that your husband supplies vegetables to your restaurants from his farm. How did this come about? Did the restaurants facilitate the farm? AS: I married a farmer! He was already farming when I met him! What is your personal culinary philosophy? MF: Delicious first. Our desserts were described once as "stunningly original,” after that I thought I could re- tire, but instead it has made me want to keep our stan- dards that high. Keep challenging yourself. AS: Try to make people feel good when they are done eating. Balancing something fatty with something light and clean or using spices to make vegetables taste rich. If you could sit down at the end of a hard shift in the kitchen to one meal, what would it be? AS: Poached egg with yogurt and chile butter and pita chips or shawarma nachos (shawarma meat, hummus, hot pepper labne, chopped tomato and cucumber with pita chips) What do you want your customers to take away with them when they leave Sofra, Oleana, or Sarma? MF: That they feel how much we love what we do, to me it is about being honest with who you are, I feel it comes through in our food and hospitality. AS: Surprised by all the flavors but don’t feel weighed down by their meal. If you could cook a meal for anyone alive or dead who would it be and what would you cook? MF: This is always such a difficult question. I think I would choose Maya Angelou, I would absorb how to be more kind and accepting of others. Our meal? I would make some of my own Middle Eastern specialty desserts like Baklava, Kunefe because I think it would make me look interesting in comparison. AS: My mother (she passed away this year). I’d make her her favorites—mashed potatoes, sticky buns, and crab melts in no particular order What is one culinary trend you love and want to see more of? I am so happy that people really care about where their food comes from, more educated customers are adventurous and take chances on the flavors we have to offer. For the culinary industry in general, there is a better focus on service and hospitality, which I feel gives us the chance to show more of who we are, with our food, service, originality, and personality. AS: Not a big fan of trends! Not sure I even know what the trends are. I like things that last long. What is one culinary trend you hate and wish would disappear? MF: I don't want to say I hate what anyone else does if they feel passionate about it, just may not be my taste. Are there any local producers in the Boston/Cam- bridge-area making exceptional products that you love? AS: Gluten-free everything. MF: In Western Massachusetts Four Star Farm, for flour, it has made such a difference in our product we use them in. MF: It would be fun in the future to work on another cookbook specializing in just Middle Eastern desserts, some composed. I really love how my duties as Pastry Chef/Owner have changed to teaching the food and flavors we use to another generation of bakers. I can always learn from them, the more you teach, you also become a permanent student. AS: Claire Cheney who was a long time manager at Sof- ra and worked at my husband’s retail store for a while, started her own spice blending company called Curio Spice. She has the most delicious turmeric from Sri Lanka that I’ve ever had. There are so many wonderful local cheeses and I’m a huge fan of Efes oat cakes. What is next for you? AS: Building an outdoor kitchen at my husband’s farm, Siena Farms. Solar powered and wood burning sha- warma rotisserie, Turkish kebob grill and oven! © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.