Featured Chefs

Sophia Young Bapt


Sophia BaptLiving in Paris, with French, North African and American roots, Sophia’s family traditions and foods are synonymous with stories, memories and a world of precious recipes. She has always been passionate about food and has traveled around the world for over 15 years building her cooking repertoire: Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, London, Milan and now ….Paris. After much time spent experimenting and savoring the most amazing cuisines of the world, Sophia decided that the time had come for her to share her knowledge and passion, wishing to transmit all of her love for food. Based in France, she has created Voyages en Cuisine, a privately owned boutique company in Paris. Her ‘voyages’ are a place where passion, culture, sense of belonging and interest for food are the key words. Each workshop offers a unique experience for cook enthusiasts and well-traveled foodies in search of new flavors and stimulation. www.facebook.com/Voyages-en-Cuisine-by-Sophia.

A proud Parisian, Sophia explores the poignant story of Jewish diversity in French cuisine. With the tastes of truffles, lavender and sage of Provence, fruit preserves from Alsace-Lorraine and champignons de Paris, traverse these cobblestone streets along with those who walked them centuries ago.

Leticia Moreinos Schwartz 


IMG_3229 2Chef and author Leticia Moreinos Schwartz was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. After graduating with a BA in economics in Rio, she changed careers and chose to follow her dreams moving to New York City to study Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, Food Journalism and Food Blogging— all at The French Culinary Institute. Leticia continued her career cooking at legendary NY restaurants.  Passionately inspired by her native Brazilian cuisine, she has authored two cookbooks on Brazilian cooking. She has made numerous TV and radio appearances including The Today Show and Better TV and her work has been featured in web and print media outlets such as The New York Times, Saveur, and Fine Cooking Magazine. She also works as a consultant and spokesperson bridging cultures and branding Latin America. Leticia lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children. www.ChefLeticia.com.

Leticia’s community, founded by Jews fleeing Europe by way of sea, adapted their traditional recipes to tropical ingredients. Born in Rio, Leticia’s dishes are infused with the Sudamérican flavors of guava, coconut, cassava and cachaça, surprising the palate on a journey south of the border.

Poopa Dweck 


DWEKPoopa Dweck is best known as the author of the remarkable cookbook Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of the Syrian Jews. Poopa is an expert on the food and customs of the Jews of Aleppo, one of the largest and most flourishing communities of Sephardic Jews.  Her book was featured in the New York Times Magazine and winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 2007. Aromas of Aleppo has led Poopa to lectures, book tours and cooking demonstrations in venues all over the world. Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha requested a meeting with Poopa. He praised the authentic recipes and noted that the shared cuisine and traditions of Syrian Arabs and Jews make a good starting point for positive dialogue. A Hebrew-language edition of Aromas of Aleppo has recently been published. By documenting and preserving the food ways and customs of her heritage, Poopa hopes to inspire ethnic groups everywhere to revisit their roots and celebrate the concept of family. www.poopadweck.com.


An honored descendant of the Aleppian Jewish community, Poopa’s dishes reveal the legendary heritage of Syrian Jews. Highlighted by a blend of fragrances redolent of tamarind sauce, allspice, pistachios, dried apricots and dates, she traces her cuisine back to the famed Silk Road.

Levana Kirschenbaum


LevanaKirschenbaumBorn and raised in Casablanca, Levana grew up with Maghreb Jewish traditions and foods. After living in France and studying in University, she settled in NYC and opened Lévana Restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Now, still living in NYC, Lévana Kirschenbaum is a cooking teacher and cookbook author, known as the diva of glorious simple healthy meals. “Moroccan Jewish cooking is deeply intertwined with that of the country as a whole,” she recounts. “Our Arab neighbors and friends constantly approached my mother for her fish recipes.” As a pioneer in Kosher upscale dining, she acquires countless devoted fans for her fearless, practical and nutritious approach to cooking. She is requested for speaking, book signing and cooking demo engagements around the country and abroad: She has published Lévana’s Table: Kosher Cooking for Everyone, Lévana Cooks Dairy-Free! and a book-DVD, In Short Order, on cooking great meals in no time, in style and in good health. She has just published The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure and Simple. www.levanacooks.com.

Born and raised in Casablanca, Levana takes her audience along the Maghreb Shores, from Tangiers, through Fez and onto Marrakech, exploring flavors of Moroccan vine leaves, chickpeas, preserved lemons, cumin, harissa and other dishes from the land of the setting sun.

Silvia Nacamulli


5320786564_a5807358cc_z 2Born and bred in Rome, home to Europe’s oldest Jewish community, Silvia Nacamulli is an Italian-Jewish cooking expert currently living in London. Silvia grew up having the privilege of carefully observing three generations of fine Italian Jewish cooks in a lively and warm environment. Driven by her love for food, although trained in Political Science and Economy, Silvia set up her own business La Cucina di Silvia – Cooking for the Soul, establishing herself as a professional cook, teacher and food writer. Silvia teaches at cookery schools as well as privately, specializing in authentic Italian Jewish cooking. She caters Italian food for both corporate and private events, and runs culinary holidays in Italy. She also lectures on the history of Italian Jewish cooking and writes a regular column in the Jewish Chronicle.  She is currently writing her first book. www.cookingforthesoul.comwww.facebook.com/CookingForTheSoul.

As a native of Rome, Silvia’s cooking spans two millennia of history embedded with traditions from the Venetian and Roman Ghettos and Pitigliano – the “Little Jerusalem” of Tuscany. Courgette flowers, artichokes, funghi porcini, pine nuts and rosemary are featured in her many recipes.

Lerone Edalati


Lerone 2Lerone Edalati traces her roots to the ‘Jadidis’, the Crypto-Jews from the Iranian city of Mashad. The aromas of saffron and rosewater filled her childhood. Lerone’s cooking tells the moving story of her ancestors who secretly practiced their Jewish faith while outwardly practicing Islam, after a forced mass conversion in 1839. Lerone graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern & Islamic studies and Hebrew Language & Literature in 2009. Lerone speaks English, Hebrew and Farsi fluently, and is proficient in Modern Standard Arabic. She is a candidate for a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies at CUNY, where she is focusing her studies on the Jews of Iran. She has devoted her time to researching the history, traditions, foods and dishes of Persia and infuses her cooking with the passion of her much beloved Mashadi heritage.

Lerone’s cooking tells the moving story of her crypto-Jewish ancestors from the Persian city of Mashad. From the signature aromas of limoo omani, eggplants and sour grapes to cinnamon, saffron and rosewater, feel a hint of nostalgia for a world long forgotten.

Joan Nathan

Live Remarks

joaneJoan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, which made both the New York Times’ and NPR’s lists of the best cookbooks of 2010.  Nathan’s work preserves the heritage of Jewish and other ethnic cooking and encourages new traditions to take shape.

 In 1994, Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America won both the James Beard Award for the best American cookbook and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award. Nathan was on the 1998 “Forward 50” list of the 50 most influential Jews.

 Her culinary talents translated easily to television. In 2000 her PBS series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan was nominated for the James Beard Award for Best National Television Food Show. She has made guest appearances on many programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Martha Stewart Show.

Nathan has won numerous awards for her work. In 2001 she was honored as an inductee into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage, and she has also received the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts Magazine. In May 2011, she was awarded a Special Recognition Award from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for her work to preserve Jewish foodways.

The mother of three grown children, Nathan lives in Washington, DC and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, attorney Allan Gerson.  For more information, please visit her website at   www.joannathan.com.

Sara Esther Crispe

Keynote Speaker

Sara Crispe 3Sara Esther Crispe is the co-director of Interinclusion.org, a multi-layered educational non-profit celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. A sought out motivational speaker and educator, she has traveled the world presenting on interpersonal relationships and the power of the Jewish woman. She has been the consultant for the Oprah Winfrey Network on Judaism, and is well-known for her writing which can be found, amongst other places, on The Huffington Post, Times of Israel and Chabad.org.

“Food for Thoughts and Thoughts for Food:
A spiritual, emotional and physiological understanding of food and nourishment.”

Chef Roland Mesnier

Finale by Former White House Pastry Chef with 26 years of White House service to five American Presidents

RolandMesnierChef Mesnier will conclude the event with a presentation about his remarkable life and legendary career as the longest serving chef in the history of the White House. For more than twenty-five years, Chef Roland served five American Presidents and their families, countless dignitaries, royalty and Heads of State. He is the author of five books and creator of over 10,000 recipes. Born in France, Mesnier began his career at the age of twelve, learning and mastering his pastry making skills first in France, then in Germany and England. After making his way over to the US he was hired by first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1980. Chef Mesnier has won 18 gold medals for his pastry creations in competitions around the world. He is a member of the Academie Culinaire de France and the recipient of many awards and accolades which include: the French Legion of Honor in 2005 – the highest honor bestowed on a French citizen; that same year he was inducted into the Chocolate and Pastry Hall of Fame in New York. He was awarded a Doctorate of Culinary Arts from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina. Since 2006, when Chef Mesnier retired from the White House, he has traveled the U.S. and around the world giving speeches, judging pastry competitions and participating in fundraising events, book signings and much more. With charisma and humor, Chef Roland entertains guests with anecdotes and fond memories of each first family, as well a demonstrations of his Presidential desserts. www.chefrolandmesnier.com.