Two local families and a local chef gave Jewish cooking maven Joan Nathan a taste of eating Jewish in Seattle a week ago when she blew through town to film an episode for her PBS 2002 series of “Jewish Cooking in America.”
The new series will air next spring in 13 segments. Plans include locations from Seattle, San Francisco, Newport and Providence, R.I., Rutland, Vt., New York City as well as the Catskills and Washington, D.C.
“I am always discovering new recipes,” Joan said. “They always revert back to connections with family and history.”
First stop in her whirlwind tour of Seattle was the Queen Anne home of Doreen Alhadeff, who along with her mother-in-law, Betty Alhadeff, started off the taping with borekas of potato. Then Doreen demonstrated for the TV audience more Sephardic dishes such as salmon with tomato and a Passover dish, mageena.
“After the day-long marathon of cooking, it felt so good to relax with a table filled with Sephardic delicacies and share Joan with my friends, whom I invited to come over,” said Doreen. “She chatted for a long time with everyone, even while suffering from jet lag.”
Next day, Joan took a tour of Pike Place Market before the entire production team headed to Mercer Island for another day of filming.
Representing the Ashkenazic community was Chef Emily Moore, who — in the kitchen of Ken and Becca Moss — prepared a whole salmon stuffed with Northwest gefilte fish, served with a dollop of horseradish cream and carpas pesto sauce.
“This is a modern version of a old recipe,” said Emily. “But Joan had to admit to us all, this isn’t something a mom would make.”
It was a masterpiece to behold.
A special treat for Becca Moss was having Joan Nathan, her cookbook idol, teach her how to form gefilte fish. “Now I know why she is the ‘maven’ of Jewish cuisine,” Becca said. “She told me that she loves to teach others what she has learned and I just had the experience of my life. And to think it all took place in my Mercer Island kitchen.”
Eileen Mintz of Mintz Media is a marketing expert and a bit of a TV food celebrity herself, having been featured on local PBS shows several times during the past few years.