Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Chef Alon Shaya: It Was Cooking That Made Me Embrace Being Jewish

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Chef Alon Shaya: It Was Cooking That Made Me Embrace Being Jewish

Article excerpt

Even though I was born in Israel, grew up with a religious mother, and went to a high school where the majority of students were Jewish, somehow, by the time I started college at the Culinary Institute of America, I didn't really know much about Jewish food. That became especially obvious when some friends and I decided to start a Jewish Culture Club at school, the first in the CIA's history.

Let me back up. When I began school there, I was still a little bit awestruck that I was even at the CIA. I'd been accepted (and had been able to afford to go) thanks in large part to the perseverance of mentors like my high school home-ec teacher Donna, who helped me and my mom sort out scholarship applications and financial-aid forms. To me, the CIA was like a culinary Harvard. Its main building was an old and regal brick monastery on a campus in New York's Hudson Valley, dotted with apple orchards. …

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