Food has an everlasting, compelling story to tell and when curiosity questions the cook and his or her dishes, fascinating elements of culture and history, techniques and ingredients, even specific table settings, bubble up to the surface – all worthy of intriguing investigation. Each journey can reveal intricate, storied threads of hardship, saving graces, lost and found connections, shared destinies, and of course, significant morsels of Jewish history.
Jewish cuisine, just like the Jewish people, is a beautiful and colorful mosaic made up of hundreds of different and varying tastes and techniques. There are recipes that have traveled the world, pulling from ingredients and flavors in each new territory, harnessing new methods and flavors for each dish, while still maintaining their core essence. Kosher requirements, Shabbat observances, the high holidays, and the dates of the Jewish calendar are all collective adherences that have become a common denominator in the kitchens of Jewish communities around the world.
At FOODISH, we let food tell our shared story and use it to tap into newfound connections. How exactly do you do this (and more!) in a museum? We’re glad you asked! We host live events including lectures, festivals, culinary tours, and book launches. Our website includes a magazine rich in articles and columns that feature stories of everything from dishes on the brink of extinction to new culinary ventures, and steadfast traditions. In addition, we have a unique, collaborative platform that welcomes the public to add and publish a recipe or family and community food story to the museum’s Jewish food database. This ensures that it will always remain alive and vibrant – with the intention of influencing future generations while continually serving as an accessible resource for all. Our test kitchen allows us to run research programs, workshops, family gatherings, and more. As part of the museum’s educational programs, which reach hundreds of thousands of youth around the world, we promote the connection between food and Jewish identity on a universal scale.
Members of the Foodish Advisory Committee
Joan Nathan, considered the doyenne of Jewish cooking in America, is the author of 11 prize-winning cookbooks, including her most recent, King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World. Her Jewish Cooking in America: A Cookbook– considered a culinary classic– won both the James Beard Award for ‘Best American Cookbook’ and the Julia Child Award for ‘Cookbook of the Year’. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine. Joan divides her time between Washington DC and Martha’s Vineyard and is currently working on her memoir, Joan Nathan: A Life in Search of Recipes, to be published in 2024.
Favorite Jewish food is pletzlach – savory Polish bread rolls with poppy seeds and onions
Claudia Roden is a prolific food writer and researcher, having authored over 20 culinary books. She was born in Cairo, where her grandparents had migrated from Aleppo and Istanbul, and came to London to study art. Her parents left Egypt in 1956 and the family settled in London. Drawn to the subject of food, at first to record her own lost heritage, and then fascinated by the historical and cultural background of cuisines, she continued to write about the cooking traditions of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Italy, and Spain, and on Jewish food. She published The Book of Jewish Food in 1996 and received nine international awards. At the 2014 Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, she was presented with an award for her contribution to culinary culture. Roden was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to food culture.
Ruth Reichl was editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine from 1999 to 2009 (which she eloquently chronicled in Save Me The Plums). Prior to her reign there, she was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times (1993-1999) and The Los Angeles Times (1984-1993), where she was also named food editor. As co-owner of The Swallow Restaurant from 1974 to 1977, she made her mark on the culinary revolution that took place in Berkeley, California. She has authored the critically-acclaimed, best-selling memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, and For You Mom, Finally which have been translated into 24 languages. Reichl is currently at work on a documentary film, Food People, directed by Laura Gabbert. She is also working on a novel to be published by Random House. Her weekly food newsletter, ‘La Briffe’, is hosted on Substack.
Favorite Jewish food is matza brei.
Rob Eshman is a food writer, editor, teacher, and activist. He served as the national editor and food editor of The Forward, where he is now a senior contributing columnist, and developed and oversaw award-winning food coverage as editor-in-chief and publisher of The Jewish Journal. He created and runs the blog Foodaism, named one of L.A.’s best blogs, and wrote a book by the same name. Rob created and taught the popular course, ‘Food, Culture, and Media’ at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and he serves on the advisory board of CANVAS, focusing on supporting Jewish arts and food culture. As the current CEO of A-Mark Foundation, he invests in research and researched-based solutions to social problems, including climate change, food justice, and hunger.
Favorite Jewish food is cold borsht
Silvia Nacamulli is a London-based cook, lecturer, and author specializing in Italian-Jewish cuisine. A well-recognized name on the international food and cooking circuit, she grew up in Rome, surrounded by her home country’s passion for food. She runs the culinary center Cooking for the Soul, where she teaches, caters traditional home-cooking, and publishes recipes. She is a regular columnist for The Jewish Chronicle and has contributed to numerous publications, including The Forward, Nosher, and Tablet Magazine. Her book, Jewish Flavours of Italy: a Family Cookbook will be released in May 2023..
Favorite Jewish food is Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish-style fried artichokes from Rome)
Hamos Guetta was born in Tripoli, Libya and he now lives in Rome with his wife, four daughters, and a large extended family. A successful entrepreneur, he also serves as a member of the Council for Youth Policy of the Jewish Community of Rome, where he is deeply involved in youth and cultural voluntary work. A great connoisseur of Jewish cuisine, he always maintains the importance of aromas and flavors, as well as religious festivals linked to them; recognizing the cultural roots of a people, their preservation, and their continuity, reach, and sense of belonging. On his popular YouTube channel, Hamos hosts over a thousand videos about food and food stories in Italian, Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Favorite Jewish food is chraime
Alana Newhouse is the editor-in-chief of Tablet magazine, which she founded in 2009, and it still serves as a daily online magazine dedicated to contemporary Jewish news. She authored The 100 Most Jewish Foods: A Highly Debatable List in 2019 and the result is a homage to food, family, faith, and identity all wrapped into one (shameless plug – some of the book’s heavy-hitting contributors are on Foodish’s Advisory Committee, naturally). She has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post and Slate, among others, and also worked as the culture editor of The Forward for a handful of years.
Her two favorite Jewish foods are latkas and matza brei
Pati Jinich was born and raised in Mexico City and is the popular host of the three-time James Beard Award-winning and four-time Emmy-nominated PBS television series “Pati’s Mexican Table”, now going on its 11th season. The series is widely distributed in the US through PBS and streamed worldwide on Amazon Prime. In October 2021, Pati made her prime-time debut with her two-part docuseries “La Frontera with Pati Jinich” on PBS and Amazon Prime. Pati is also a New York Times bestselling cookbook author. Her most recent book, Treasures of the Mexican Table, released in 2021, was named one of the best cookbooks of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Food & Wine, and others. Her previous two cookbooks are Pati’s Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking and Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen. Jinich has called Washington, D.C. home for the past 20 years, where she and her husband are raising their three Mexican-American sons, and she serves as the resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Favorite Jewish food is chicken schnitzel
Assaf Granit is a chef and the owner of JLM & Machneyuda group – a consulting and management enterprise with more than 20 restaurants and upcoming projects around the world, including Paris, London, Berlin, Saint Barthélemy, and Jerusalem. Assaf was born and raised in Jerusalem inspired by his grandmother’s cooking. He opened his first restaurant, Machneyuda, in 2009, to great and continuous acclaim. Assaf is also a culinary entrepreneur, as well as a judge and television host on several popular TV shows in Israel including Chef Games and The Next Restaurant of Israel. In 2021, Granit and his group were awarded their first Michelin star for their restaurant Shabour, in Paris; the first-ever Michelin star awarded to an Israeli restaurant in France.
Jake Cohen is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author and nice Jewish boy from New York. A CIA graduate, Cohen worked in New York’s ABC Kitchen and Daniel, as well as Saveur magazine’s test kitchen. He also managed the test kitchen of The Feedfeed, edited the Tastingtable.com and served as a food critic for Time Out New York before writing his first book, Jew-ish, which chronicles his love for modern Jewish cooking and baking. Cohen and his recipes have been featured in The Food Network, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, Food52, as well as in Forbes 2022 list of ‘30 Under 30’ for the food & drink category. When he’s not posting challah-braiding videos and recipes on his Instagram and TikTok (@jakecohen), he’s eating around New York City with his husband Alex.
Favorite Jewish food is matza ball soup
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is the University Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Ronald S. Lauder chief curator of the core exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. She serves as an international consultant for museums and cultural projects around the world, including the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the Smithsonian, and more. Her books include Destination Museum: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage, Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki), They Called Me Mayer July: Painted and Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt), The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (with Jonathan Karp), and Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory (with Jeffrey Shandler). She has published widely on the history of Jewish cookbooks, contributed entries on food to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, and served on the editorial board of Gastronomica. Her Jewish cookbooks are one of the largest privately-owned collections.
Favorite Jewish food is chicken drumsticks (pulkes)
Hélène Jawhara Piñer teaches medieval history at the University of Bordeaux-Montagne and the University of Tours in France. In 2018, the Spanish-American community awarded her the Broome & Allen Fellowship for her academic achievements and contribution to the Spanish community. In October 2021, the Society for Crypto-Jusaic Studies awarded her the David Gitlitz Emerging Scholar Award for her impressive work researching the history of Jewish communities in Spain. She is the author of the book Sephardi: Cooking the History. Recipes of the Jews of Spain and the Diaspora from the 13th Century to Today, whose introduction was written by David Gitlitz, one of the leading scholars of Spanish Judaism.
Favorite food is Hamin (cholent)