After a lifetime of embracing my Sephardic heritage—mostly in the form of endless flakey, cheese-filled Turkish pastries—my sister and I decided it was time to give the stage to our Eastern European ancestry for a change.
We had been searching for an opportunity to host a pop-up dinner of some kind for a while, and serendipitously crossed paths with two of Brooklyn’s great food enthusiasts and keepers of Ashkenazic culture and cuisine—Jeff Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern. Through their business, The Gefilteria, Jeff and Liz reimagine old world Jewish cuisine by adapting Eastern European classics to the values and tastes of a new generation.
We had the great pleasure of collaborating and hosting a multi-course meal together, inspired by Jeff and Liz’s cookbook, The Gefilte Manifesto, and my dad’s childhood memories eating schmaltz in Brooklyn with his great grandmother, “The Chief.” The menu aimed to reach back in time, while honoring PNW ingredients and flavors, featuring specialty items from our venue for the evening, Cafe Barjot.
Sarah Stuteville of The Seattle Times captured the event beautifully in her piece, A tasty tale of growth and food in Seattle’s Jewish community.
I think Liz said it best as we were hauling piles of dirty rags to the laundry room and sipping whiskey after a successful event: “This is what happens when a bunch of people who really care about something have a crazy idea…shit just happens.”