2019 San Francisco Rising Star Game Changer Chefs Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Noosh

2019 San Francisco Rising Star Game Changer Chefs Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Noosh

Sayat and Laura Ozyilmaz are the husband and wife team behind San Francisco’s ebullient, breezy, Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Noosh. 

Laura hales from the Mexican state of Guerrero, just southwest of Mexico City, where she got her start as a prep cook for caterers and attended the Ambrosía Centro Culinario. She then enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America in New York, externing at Boulud Sud which evolved into a post-grad gig at Café Boulud. Wanting to learn more from the best, in Spain, Laura staged at Mugaritz and furthered her education at the Basque Culinary Center. Upon returning stateside, Laura accepted a position at Eleven Madison Park. 

Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Sayat earned a degree in economics from Dartmouth. While travelling through Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia, he was inspired to become a chef. Working as an engineer during the day, he took a second job in a restaurant. Sayat eventually enrolled at The CIA, where he met Laura, and worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and at Le Bernardin post-graduation. 

With the dream of Noosh glinting in their eyes, the two embarked on a North American staging tour that included stops at Spago, Bourbon Steak, Husk, and Pujol, ending in San Francisco where Laura took a position at Saison. 

Before opening Noosh in 2019, the couple refined their idea of “community through cuisine” and developed a large and loyal following with their long running pop-up Istanbul Modern SF. The pita oven is always aflame and nothing on the shareable menu is more than $16 at Noosh, where the Ozyilmaz’s personal story is grafted onto California roots.