Working as a travel agent just wasn’t cutting it for Maura Kilpatrick. But baking and pastry was a passion, so she booked herself a flight to San Francisco and enrolled at the California Culinary Academy. Kilpatrick received a graduate certificate in baking and moved back to her home town of Boston. She worked in the kitchens of the city’s top chefs, including Lydia Shire, Moncef Medeb, Rene Michelena, and Ana Sortun.
Kilpatrick opened two bakeries in 1999, High-Rise Bread Company and High-Rise Pie Company, where some of her recipes are still featured today. In 2001, she and James-Beard-Award-winning Ana Sortun reunited to develop the concept for Oleana restaurant. While working with Sortun, a nimble spice user, Kilpatrick fell in love with the exotic flavors and spices of the Mediterranean and Middle East.
At Oleana, Kilpatrick’s contemporary interpretations of traditional eastern Mediterranean desserts and pastries compliment the Middle Eastern inflected cuisine of Sortun. Kilpatrick brilliantly incorporates Middle Eastern spices and ingredients like orange blossoms, rose petals, kaymek, and kadayifi. In August of 2008, Kilpatrick and Sortun collaborated once again to open Sofra, a bakery and café inspired by the cuisines of Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece. Kilpatrick has been named Boston’s “Best Pastry Chef” by Boston Magazine in 2002, 2007, and 2008, and she was named a 2008 StarChefs.com Rising Star Pastry Chef.