Joan Nathan Raves About Gefiltefest, London Jewish Food


The First Lady of Jewish cooking in America went across the pond recently to sample the renaissance of Jewish food in London, and she was not disappointed.

Writing in Tablet Magazine, Joan Nathan, author of numerous cookbooks including Jewish Cooking in American and Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook, praised the range of workshops and demonstrations at the fifth annual Gefiltefest. These included “teenagers on how to raise free-range eggs at home, a challah-baking workshop with Challah for Hunger, Claudia Roden and Chef Silvia Nacamulli on Italian-Jewish cuisine, a local rabbi on the kosher status of the giraffe.”

Nathan herself hosted a session on rugelach, and participated in a conversation with fellow writers Claudia Roden and Victoria Prever.

Nathan then when on to describe how and where she ate after the festival, from lesser-known spots like Honey & Co., to the much-hyped Palomar, from the team behind Jerusalem hotspot Machne Yehuda.

“But it was with Yotam Ottolenghi at his restaurant Nopi that I understood where all this excitement was coming from,” Nathan writes. She raves over “dishes and unexpected flavors like sea bass, lovage, and watercress sauce; borage and roasted cherry tomatoes; and what they call a M.E. Mess—a deceptively simple-seeming pomegranate trifle with mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, strawberries, pomegranates, and crumbled meringue, among other flavors.”

Ottolenghi and his partner Sami Tamini operate several restaurants, authored the popular cookbook Jerusalem, and are largely credited with the current interest in Middle Eastern food.


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