Abbie Rosner writes about the multicultural culinary landscape of the Galilee for publications including Gastronomica and Wine Spectator and on her blog, Galilee Seasonality. She also established and operates “Culinary Tours of the Galilee,” which introduces visitors to Israel to the foods of the Galilee and the diverse cultures that prepare them.
Abby Cherner took her love of entertaining and cooking and founded At Home With Abby in 2012. Her classes capture her entertaining aesthetic and provide students with a carefully selected menu, interactive cooking demonstrations, tabletop ideas and serving and presentation tips designed to build confidence in cooking and entertaining. Classes encourage students to open their homes, roll up their sleeves and enjoy home-cooked food with family and friends.
Allison Sarnoff Soffer is the author of Apple Days – A Rosh Hashanah Story recently published by Kar-Ben. In addition to writing, Allison is passionate about teaching at Temple Sinai Nursery School where she weaves music and ritual into her work in the classroom. Allison especially enjoys writing for and about children. Apple Days is her first book.
Allyson is Maryland transplant living in NYC as a magazine editor. An avid traveler and foodie, she’s always on the hunt for her next adventure and a good bite to eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @allyren.
Amy Kritzer is an award-winning food writer, recipe developer and founder of the cooking blog What Jew Wanna Eat. After moving from New York to Austin, she discovered her love of queso, country music and cooking and left the business world to attend Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. Her recipes and writing have been featured in numerous publications and websites including The Today Show, Cosmopolitan and Bon Appetit.
A food lover and self-proclaimed great talker, Amy Zitelman joined her two sisters and a brother-in-law to launch Soom Foods in 2012. Soom Foods sources sesame seeds in Ethiopia and manufactures delicious, nutritious sesame products in Israel for distribution in the US.
Andrew Friedman is an attorney in Washington, DC. He writes about food, nutrition and veganism on his blog, The Avocadbro. He loves animals, but doesn’t love eating them.
Andy Meyrowitz is the beverage director and sommelier at The Wine Harvest and The Wine Harvest at Park Potomac, a profession he has enjoyed for over 10 years. He studied hospitality at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and received his First Level Sommelier certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Andy thrives on connecting his professional passion to his love of Jewish tradition, culture and community. As a specialist of alcoholic beverages, he always tries to focus each drink with the right situation, connecting this to his Jewish upbringing where there was wine on the table on Friday and Saturday nights for Shabbat, Passover and in other times of celebration as well as mourning. For Andy, moderation is the key to a happy life of enjoying wine.
Audrey Rothstein is a native Washingtonian whose family Seders always include at least 60 people and the best kugels in town. Audrey is a nonprofit communications consultant and photographer who especially enjoys helping nonprofits tell their stories with photos. She serves as vice chair of Hospice Caring, Inc.
Aviva Goldfarb is Family Dinner Expert, Founder and CEO of the Six O’Clock Scramble, which encourages family mealtime, promotes healthy meals for children and supports local farmers through a seasonal online meal planning and grocery shopping system. She is the author of four cookbooks, including The Six O’Clock Scramble, SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue and The Six O’Clock Scramble Meal Planner.
Beyhan is the third daughter of a Jewish mother (Beti) and Muslim father (Zeki) who immigrated with the family to the US in 1958. Her book, The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl, is an outstanding Turkish/Sephardic cookbook as well as a fascinating memoir that captures a precious legacy—the “old world” family recipes which have been passed down from one generation of cooks to the next in an unbroken chain.
Cathy Barrow has held many jobs, but she’s always been a passionate cook. In 2009, she created Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen, where she focuses on food preservation, seasonal, locally sourced foods and maintaining a practical pantry, and in 2014 she released her first cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.
Cheryl Kollin is the principal of Full Plate Ventures, a consulting business that works with entrepreneurs and nonprofits to address the interconnected issues of local food systems, environmental sustainability and economic development. Cheryl is a founding member of the Montgomery County Food Council. She won the 2012 Adat Shalom Iron Chef contest fundraiser.
Claire Uziel has been the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington’s Assistant Archivist since 2005. When she’s not taking care of the community’s history, she takes care of the Society’s website. Claire grew up eating from Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions and is grateful for an extended family that loves to cook.
For over 30 years Debra Moser has guided businesses in marketing and strategic positioning, currently bringing that expertise to Central Farm Markets and MeatCrafters, both founded with her husband, Mitch Berliner. She has a professional certification in pastry from L’Academie de Cuisine. Before she let her culinary spirit loose, Debra was the founding executive director of the Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts in Rockville.
Dennis M. Kirschbaum is a writer, poet and personal technology specialist. From 2001 to 2014, he served as Vice President for Campus Services at Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus life. He has traveled extensively in the US and abroad. His poetry chapbook, Clattering East, was published by Finishing Line Press.
Denyse Tannenbaum is a writer and editor who covered education, crime and business before finding the food beat. She has discovered that it’s almost as much fun to write about food as it is to eat it.
Diana Levine is an advertising and editorial photographer and a mom to a bouncing young toddler. When she’s not chasing around her son, on a shoot or spending time with family, she is in the kitchen, creating easy, vegetarian and family-friendly recipes, which she shares on her cooking blog.
Elyse Cohen is the former deputy director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, aimed at helping America raise healthier kids. She has led health communications initiatives spanning food and nutrition policy, public-private partnership development, marketing and social impact. Elyse guides companies, nonprofits and individuals on their social missions and strategic partnerships around food, nutrition and wellness. Find her on Twitter: @ElyseCohen
Emily Goodstein is a kugel enthusiast, reproductive justice activist, birth photographer, social media strategist and rabble-rouser living in Washington, DC. She recently photographed the Washington, DC Chef’s Table cookbook. Her favorite possession is the cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer she bought with part of her Bat Mitzvah money (still going strong!).
Emily Landsman is the former Chief Creative Officer and brand ambassador at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville, Virginia. She is a freelance media consultant by day and spirited cocktail connoisseur by night. Emily has a BA and MPA from The George Washington University.
Esther Schuster (mom) is a recently retired social worker and the former executive director of Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham, AL. She now enjoys having time for grocery shopping and cooking in daylight hours, mahjong and other new pursuits. Esther thrives on throwing dinner parties for 40 + people, which “ain’t no thang” in Alabama. She is the mother of one daughter, three refrigerators and four freezers. Crucial in-stock food items for her include canned tomatoes, shelled walnuts and pine nuts, Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips (she has over 30 pounds in the laundry room freezer right now…seriously), EVOO, black beans and Jarlsberg cheese. She loves Costco and olives.
Evan Caplan hails from the second Jewish homeland: New York. After a stint in the Peace Corps, he settled in the District and loves calling this fascinating slice of America home. He’s a travel and food writer when not at his day job working in international development.
Hillary Busis is Mashable’s deputy entertainment editor and a former editor at Entertainment Weekly. Her work has appeared on Vulture, Slate, The Wall Street Journal and Jewcy, among other publications. She blogs at And Such Small Portions. She lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé and too many books.
Jane Yamaykin lives in Takoma Park and is passionate about Judaism, social justice and food. She has worked for nonprofit organizations for nearly ten years and stays actively involved in community organizing and direct-service volunteer opportunities. She loves to relax by cooking with farmers market finds and inviting friends over to share the meal.
Jeff Rum is president and chief creative officer at SPARK Experience Design, a full-service digital agency that focuses on user experience design. Jeff recently led the digital marketing and web design efforts for the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group that includes world-renowned restaurants such as Rasika, Bibiana, Oval Room, Ardeo+Bardeo, Bombay Club and 701. Jeff was profiled in SmartCEO Magazine and regularly serves as an online panelist for CMSWire. He has been featured in HP’s blog, Input Output and he is a contributor to the updated version of Letting Go of the Words by Janice (Ginny) Redish, a world-renowned author and content specialist.
Jenna Weissman Joselit is the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History at The George Washington University, where she also directs its Program in Judaic Studies and MA in Jewish Cultural Arts.
The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and its Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum preserve, chronicle and present the story of the local Jewish community through archival collections, exhibits, educational programs, publications, and the restoration and preservation of the oldest synagogue building in the nation’s capital. The Museum is located in the historic 1876 Adas Israel Synagogue—the oldest in the Washington, D.C., area. The synagogue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites (PDF), and the Historic American Buildings Survey. It is an Official Project of the Save America’s Treasures program.
Joan Nathan is the author of ten cookbooks including her most recent, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Knopf), which was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food and Wine and Bon Appétit magazines. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Tablet Magazine.
Jodi Ochstein is a social media strategist and owner of Ochstein Strategies. She is a longtime activist and has worked for nonprofit organizations and volunteered for over 10 years. Jodi cofounded a Potluck Shabbat group and started a social group for Jewish adults called L’Chaim v’Yayin (To Life and Wine).
Joshua E. London writes a weekly column on kosher wines and distilled spirits for the Washington Jewish Week. A resident of Potomac, MD, Josh has lived in the DC Metro area since 1998.
Joshua Rosenstein is a Baltimore-based foodie, farmer and farm-to-table cook and educator. He runs Edible Eden Baltimore Foodscapes, LLC, which designs, installs and maintains food gardens and edible landscaping for homeowners, businesses and schools. He gets most excited teaching people what to do with vegetables no one has ever heard of and creating exotic pickled products.
Part-time farmer and full-time food-maker Julia Kann is the creator of Julia’s Rooted Kitchen, a food blog devoted to “what’s in season and what to do about it.” Originally from San Francisco, she moved to DC in 2010 to participate in AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. Since then she has worked at and managed many local farmers markets and worked on a nearby farm. She loves making seasonal food for friends and family and sharing her food knowledge with others.
Coming from a long line of fabulous Jewish culinarians, Julie Silverstein is committed to inventing new dishes and bringing fresh and local ingredients with unique international flavors to her table. After serving as the speechwriter for the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and a conflict resolution instructor at Harvard, a crisis in the kitchen doesn’t ruffle her apron. Julie lives in Washingto0,n DC with her in-house taste testers—her husband, Rusty, and three young children.
Kara Elder grew up playing in the kitchen and reading cookbooks for fun. After graduating with a degree in Russian, her love for food led her to start a food blog with her mother and sister. Now Kara works for Joan Nathan and at Bazaar Spices in DC’s Union Market. You can read more of her work at Spicy DC.
Kerry Brodie is a DC native and daughter of a big South African foodie family. She and her husband love to cook and entertain large groups of friends—though they often bite off a bit more than they can chew! Kerry loves playing around in the kitchen with her family, getting sage advice and trying not to make too much of a mess.
Laura Kumin is a food writer, cooking coach and the creator of Mother Would Know, a website that encourages and helps readers to become confident home cooks. She is not embarrassed by the number of spatulas, graters and cookbooks that she owns, or the fact that she buys chocolate in 1+ pound bars.
Laura Silver is an award-winning journalist whose writing on food and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Forward, the Jerusalem Report and on NPR. The author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, 2014), she is considered the world’s leading knish expert.
Lauren Fedewa is currently serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA member to the Jewish Social Service Agency’s Holocaust Survivor Program. She studies history and German, and is an avid fan of Forrest Gump and Brazil soccer. Her fondest food memories are baking apple pies with her sister to share at family Thanksgivings.
Leah Hadad once worked as a lawyer, but her lifelong love for cooking and baking led her to start Tribes-a-Dozen and develop its signature product, Voilà! Hallah, a line of all-natural, kosher challah bread mixes. Her calling now is to revive the tradition of baking challah at home. Leah draws on her Yemenite-Israeli roots as she is mixin’ traditions in her kitchen for family and friends in Washington, DC.
Linda Wolpert is a food photographer and works for The Six O’Clock Scramble, an online recipe service that specializes in healthful food that is quick to prepare. When not walking her dog or playing tennis, she is cooking for friends and family and searching for fun new recipes.
Lisa, a self-confessed fresser, started professional life as a lawyer and has enormous passion for food, cooking and preserving recipes. She has a great understanding of, and connection to, the Jewish community, and since 2006 has been Chief Pot Stirrer of the Monday Morning Cooking Club. This project has changed Lisa’s life and taken her obsession with food to a whole new level.
Lori Fish Bard is a board-certified health and wellness counselor who helps people reach their health goals in a highly supportive and delicious way. Founder of Healthy Heartbeet Nutrition Counseling, Lori has been featured in the WashingtonPost Express and Delight Gluten Free. She is the head chef of her household of five and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Marcella Kriebel is an artist, illustrator and cookbook author based in Washington, DC. She is currently working on her second illustrated cookbook project, all about Cuban cuisine. This book follows Mi Comida Latina, her debut illustrated recipe collection, comprised of recipes from her travels throughout Latin America in the 2000s.
Marcia Friedman is the author of Meatballs and Matzah Balls: Recipes and Reflections from a Jewish and Italian Life, a cookbook featuring more than 100 Jewish and Italian recipes, all of which can be made kosher. A convert to Judaism, Marcia enjoys speaking about her journey to groups and continues exploring the intersection of Jewish and Italian food and life on her blog.
For over 20 years, Dr. Marion Usher has helped Jewish interfaith couples examine the role of love and religion in their relationships. She has worked with over 600 interfaith couples, as well as parents and grandparents, in workshops and reached many more through her website and blog. A professor of psychiatry with a private practice, Marion is also a grandmother who delights in preparing Shabbat and holiday meals for her family.
Melissa Amster lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband, two sons and daughter. She has been working at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for over five years. She enjoys reading, blogging, watching her favorite shows on TV and baking challah and desserts. Follow her on Twitter.
Merav Levkowitz is JFE’s digital content manager and editor and an independent writer, editor and content strategist. The daughter of an Israeli and a Colombian, Merav speaks six languages and has eaten her way around the globe. At any moment, Merav is planning either her next meal or her next trip—or both.
Natasha Nadel is a journalist and author focusing on the intersection of healthy food, family and community. She is the author of Healthy Family, Healthy You: The Healthy Mama’s Guide to feeding your family well – simply and sanely! and The Healthy Family Healthy You Cookbook. You can find her free e-book, Five Easy Weeknight Meals: Your 7 Day Family Makeover, and healthy and creative ideas for your family on her blog.
Only after Pati Jinich got her dream job as a policy analyst did she realize, with a nudge from her husband, that food is really her first love. Nostalgia for her childhood meals in Mexico City inspires her mission to teach true Mexican cooking through classes, her public television show Pati’s Mexican Table and her blog and cookbook.
Paul Entis, JFE director, is passionate about all things culinary: good food, kitchen gadgets, hosting brunches, ordering artisanal ingredients online, adapting recipes, watching Top Chef, you name it. He’s worked in the nonprofit world for close to 20 years as a fundraiser, event planner, administrator and program director. Paul served as the Site Director for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps’ DC site and Hillel Director at the University of Southern California and UMass/Amherst. He is interested in food as a social justice issue and volunteers at N Street Village helping prepare a monthly meal for the agency’s clients.
French-trained pastry chef Paula Shoyer wrote The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy to start a kosher baking revolution. A former attorney, Paula teaches baking in DC and across the US and Canada. A frequent guest on local and national television and radio, her second book, The Holiday Kosher Baker, was released October 2013.
Rabbi Adam J. Raskin has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Har Shalom since 2011. He earned his BA in Jewish Studies at The Ohio State University and received the Wexner Graduate Fellowship for his studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and Jerusalem. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
Rabbi Dahlia Bernstein loves weaving together her passion for Jewish living and mindful eating. You can see this in action by reading her blog, Weight Watcher Rabbi, and visiting the Bellmore Jewish Center where she has served as the spiritual leader since 2013. She strives to communicate a Judaism that invites people to connect with a deep past that can transform their present.
Rabbi James is the Director of Chaplaincy & Jewish Engagement at the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA), where he employs Jewish wisdom to empower and nourish individuals and families confronting major life challenges, along with the staff that serve them. He is a fellow of CLAL’s Rabbis Without Borders and a graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two boys.
Rabbi Sarah Tasman is the Director of InterfaithFamily/DC which is a national organization funded locally by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to help interfaith couples and families connect with Jewish Life. Rabbi Sarah is also a yoga teacher, mikveh (ritual immersion) guide/educator and life cycle officiant. She was ordained by the rabbinical school of Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts.
Rabbi Susan N. Shankman has served as a rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation since 2001. In addition to officiating at services and life cycle events, she focuses on adult education, confirmation, youth programming, engaging young families, social action and Sisterhood. Rabbi Shankman joined The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Board of Directors in 2014. She and her husband, Rabbi Michael Namath, have three children.
Rachel is a writer, cook, chocolatier and self-described celebrationist. She loves to create memorable, fun and delicious experiences through imaginative food and menus. Writing about the recipes, and occasions they are prepared for, is her way of savoring the memories long after the dishes have been washed. Find Rachel’s stories and recipes on her website.
Rinny Yourman worked as a labor lawyer before retiring to manage her two most demanding clients—her children. Rinny loves to hit the open road whenever possible; in the last ten years, she and her husband have logged roughly 30,000 miles with two young kids (and no digital diversions).
Sala Levin is a writer for Moment Magazine, the nation’s largest independent Jewish publication, covering Jewish politics, culture and religion. She’s written about Israeli street food, Jewish ghosts, famous heretics and much more. Sala first fell in love with cooking in college, when 11 am classes left her lots of time to putter in the kitchen. Now, she’s more often found bookmarking her favorite recipes online and trying frantically to cook them all in her free time.
Sam Rosenbaum is volunteer coordinator at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Jconnect. He has worked with volunteers, students and clients in a community service setting since 1998. Originally from Canada, he joined The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington in 2004 to begin the Jewish Volunteer Connection volunteer clearinghouse, which has grown into Jconnect, a comprehensive community outreach program. He lives in Silver Spring, MD with his wife, daughter, and two cats.
Sam Bass has been involved with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington since 2011 and currently serves as program coordinator. She is responsible for educational programs and tours, special events and membership outreach. A Wisconsin native, she loves frozen custard and all things food-related, which she documents on her food history blog.
Sara Solomon is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of Your Inner Kitchen LLC. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and board certified by the American Society of Drugless Practitioners. Her practice focuses on bio-individuality and healing through a whole foods eating approach. Solomon is a breast cancer survivor and mom to three great kids.
Sarah Newman is the founder of Neesh Noosh: A Jewish Woman’s Year Long Journey to Find Faith in Food. She recently worked with JFE® to put together value cards representing essential values we can explore, practice and reflect upon every time we eat.
Scott Hertzberg lives on a vegetable and flower farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Along with his wife Tanya, he also runs Israeli Harvest, which imports unique products, like Makura olive oil, from small and mid-sized Israeli farms and supplies them to stores and congregation gift shops.
Shaina Shealy (daughter) is currently spending a year in Jerusalem where she’s exploring abundant vegetables at Israel’s many markets and studying for a Masters Degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University in conjunction with The George Washington University. She’s prone to existential crises every two weeks and spends 20 percent of her 20-something life washing, peeling, cooking or eating vegetables. Known to throw elaborate dinner parties with her housemates, her pantry is always stocked with extra virgin coconut oil, tahini, raw almonds and Himalayan sea salt. She hates olives.
Award-winning author of 26 cookbooks, Sheilah Kaufman has taught and lectured from Alaska to Mexico and around the world for 40 years, demystifying cooking with her fearless and fussless international recipes. As a partner in the Cookbook Construction Crew, she mentors and collaborates with other authors on proofreading, editing, recipe testing and publishing their books.
Shulie Madnick is an Israeli Indian living in the DC area. Her parents are Bnai Israel Indian Jews born and raised in and near Mumbai, India. Shulie is a food and travel writer and a photographer. Her articles and photographs have appeared in various publications and on her website.
Stacey Viera is a freelance food photographer, public relations flack and writer in Arlington, Virginia. She founded Best Light Communications seven years ago to picture her clients in the best light. Her grandfather and career photographer, Stan Singer, inspired her passion for creating timeless images, specializing in mouth-watering food photography. Like her (fairly portly) Papa Stan before her, she lives for making photos, eating food and her family. When she isn’t photographing food for clients or her blog, she’s eating, baking, cooking, knitting and wrangling her young son, husband and French bulldog, Tchotchke. Bio photo credit: Aziz Yazdani.
While Stephanie has spent the last 15+ years as a professional communications executive, her passion is food. To her, food is love. Food is cultural and food is spiritual. Food can spark intense and rewarding conversations about myriad topics and food can provide a comfortable backdrop when conversations become uncomfortable. Stephanie had a successful stint as a professional chef, where she was able to hone her craft and instill in her clients the importance in healthy, delicious eating. Stephanie believes the quality of the food we place in our bodies directly correlates to how our bodies treat us. She believes in whole, natural, organic, and delicious living, and gets an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction creating healthy versions of traditional holiday foods. Stephanie and her husband, Ilan, are the proud parents of three daughters who love food as much as they do!
Susan Barocas adores food, film, family and friends…although not necessarily in that order. She helped launch the Jewish Food Experience as its first project director following several years as director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Currently, Susan writes, produces and directs documentaries and films for non-profit organizations. She also organizes special events, teaches cooking, caters and considers hosting a holiday meal for less than 20 to be small. Susan still has her first cookbook, Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls from 1957.
Tanya Tolchin grows vegetables and flowers on her family farm in Maryland just 20 miles from Washington, DC. She is a manager of Israeli Harvest, which supports Israeli farmers by selling their organic olive oil and dates in the US. She writes about farming, parenting and Jewish life on her blog and elsewhere.
Tina Wasserman is the author of Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora and Entrée to Judaism for Families: Jewish Cooking and Kitchen Conversations with Children. A food writer and cooking instructor for over 40 years, her hands-on approach to food (that also happens to be kosher) and its preparation appeal equally to Jewish and non-Jewish students.
Vered Guttman is passionate about Jewish and Israeli food. She writes the popular Modern Manna food blog for for Israel’s daily newspaper, Haaretz, and her articles appear in the Washington Post and slate.com, among others. She is also chef and owner of Cardamom & Mint, a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern catering company in Washington, DC. Growing up in Israel, Vered took her first steps in Jewish cooking sitting at the table of her two grandmothers, one from Poland, the other from Iraq. To these traditional Jewish flavors, she has now added the wonders of Israel’s modern fusion kitchen to create new Israeli-inspired recipes.
Yosef Silver is a passionate food writer and wine lover sharing his unique perspective on kosher cooking at This American Bite. He is also Director of Marketing at KosherWine.com, and he loves when people say hello to him on Twitter (@ysilver).
Zachary Paul Levine formerly worked as curator for the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, helping to develop the Society’s new museum. A native of Bethesda, he returned to Washington after ten years in New York (mostly), Hungary and Israel, places in which he cultivated his love for home brewing, mushroom goulash and hummus.