Creating the Gefilte Manifesto
Gefilte fish is undergoing an unlikely artisanal revival, mainly thanks to Liz Alpern’s Gefilteria culinary venture and her new book, “The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods.”
Like Bogie and Bacall or Will and Grace, Alpern, 32, and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, her partner-in-gefilte, are usually mentioned in the same breath. They’re an unrelentingly dynamic duo, a force-of-foodie nature, sharing the mission of keeping “the fires burning, and the ovens hot, for generations of Ashkenazi cooks to come.”
Alpern completed her MBA in December 2015 and this year began teaching in the Culinary Entrepreneur Program at the prestigious International Culinary Center. This past summer, she was master teacher for PopUp for Change, helping teens create a pop-up supper club for seniors.
Though she’s based in New York, Alpern’s outreach has spanned the continental United States and ranged from a “culinary residency” in San Diego, which included an Ashkenazi cooking class and Shabbat dinner, to a two-week course at Brandeis University, outside Boston. Recently, at the “Fressers Summit” at the Ashkenaz Festival, she and other Jewish-food luminaries presented a panel advocating for the renewal of traditional foodways.
Alpern grew up in Long Beach, New York, and cooked her way through college at McGill University in Montreal, hosting Shabbat meals and selling homemade challah (because, she said, there was no kosher bakery near campus). After graduating, she worked for Jewish food doyenne Joan Nathan, who connected her with Yoskowitz.
Their ”Manifesto” came out in September to critical acclaim, proving that the old can be new again, especially when it tastes this good.