Istanbul native Sofia D. Sözen’s most popular recipe is called “Coco Anjéla”. Through a former chain of Sofia’s restaurants in Turkey, this vegan dessert became so famous that television crews are trying to get the recipe out of her.
Sofia began her education at an art school. She went on to study acting and ballet, then transferred to NYU High School, where she enrolled in business management and psychology. After graduating, she founded a restaurant chain in Turkey in 2004, sold it in 2009 and took some time off in Berlin. She immediately fell in love with the city and shortly after opened a small breakfast restaurant here, which she christened “FACTORY GIRL.” A few years later, it opened a second branch in Amsterdam.
FACTORY GIRL – Mediterranean breakfast and digital tools
Sofia loves to put a modern, international twist on classic Turkish cuisine. “I grew up eating all these wonderful bright vegetables,” she says. “I’ve been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. Turkish cuisine has an undiscovered side with fantastic vegan or vegetarian ingredients that can all be combined.”
Vegan and vegetarian
She has added more Mediterranean ingredients to traditional Turkish dishes, and Catalan, Provençal and Jewish specialties have also found their way onto the FACTORY GIRL menu. Each dish is available in a vegan and a vegetarian version.
Sofia runs the FACTORY GIRL stores in Berlin and Amsterdam together with her life partner Erhan O. Seven. He grew up on a farm near the western Turkish city of Izmir and was influenced by the richly laid breakfast table of rural regions. “There are lots of little plates and bowls on the table with different treats,” he says, “that you can choose between. That’s how breakfast has to be for me.”
The recipe secret
Coco Anjéla, the most famous dish of the FACTORY GIRL, is a dessert reminiscent of pudding. This dessert also has its roots in traditional Turkish cuisine. And the recipe? Sofia reveals only this much: in vegan cream and soy or oat milk are folded flour, vanilla and a little sugar. Depending on the variant (there are three of them), chopped vegan cookies or berries and black chocolate or lemon are then added. Then it’s simply: feast! And viewers of the Turkish TV stations who want to uncover the secret of the recipe are of course cordially invited – to Berlin or Amsterdam.
Do you already know the action “Veganuary”? It is designed to encourage people to try a purely plant-based diet once in January. In 2022, over 600,000 people in more than 200 countries participated. If you want to join the action, you can sign up through “Veganuary”.