“Eat Well, Do Justice!” isn’t just a great admonition; it’s also the moniker of an exciting Jewish food event. On September 17th, the event will feature five of Washington, DC’s star chefs competing in a battle of the blintzes to benefit Tzedek DC.
This is the second year for Tzedek DC’s “Eat Well, Do Justice!” event. Last year, in a heated kugel cook-off, Chef Alex Levin wowed the crowd with his blowtorch-finished, traditionally inspired version. Levin returns to the event this year as a judge. He and the other judges will be presented with creative blintzes from five celebrity chefs:
- Amy Brandwein, chef and restaurateur, Centrolina
- Tiffany MacIsaac, chef and owner, Buttercream Bakeshop
- Ryan Ratino, executive chef, Bresca
- Ed Scarpone, executive chef, Schlow Restaurant Group
- Paula Shoyer, (aka The Kosher Baker), pastry chef and cookbook author
This year, each chef promises to bring her (or his) best blintz game. Honorary chair Bonnie Benwick, deputy food editor of The Washington Post, asked about their strategies, and their answers portend an awesome contest. Although their entries will remain secret up to the day of the event, a few of them gave hints as to where they’re headed.
Chef Amy Brandwein is focused on how she will transform a blintz. She noted that the blintz has origins in Eastern Europe, “so I will be channeling some German roots from my grandfather to try to find the answer.”
Taking a fun-loving approach, Chef Tiffany MacIsaac is not divulging where she will look for inspiration. “I’m not sure if I’m more excited about all the taste-testing I’ll get to do (getting ready for the event) or how awesome it’ll be to win. Ha-ha!”
While Chef Ed Scarpone didn’t grow up with blintzes, that doesn’t diminish his excitement about participating in this culinary competition. “Honestly, I had no idea what a blintz was when I was asked to do this. So you could imagine my relief when I found out it was a crepe! I am honored to be cooking alongside such talented people. I think I have just the recipe that people will love.”
Chef Ryan Ratino seems to be headed in a French direction, too. “My plan of attack is to give people nouvelle French blintzes with my favorite ingredient!”
Last, but certainly not least, Chef Paula Shoyer is confident she has what it takes to ace this contest. “I’m the Kosher Baker. If anyone can do killer blintzes, it’s me! Watch me make them healthy, too, with my new spin on the crepe.”
Tzedek DC has lined up four eminent judges willing to take on the tough job of deciding among the delights these chef contestants will create. They are:
- Marcia Greenberger, co-founder, National Women’s Law Center
- Alex Levin, Eat Well, Do Justice! winner 2017, Schlow Restaurant Group
- Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post
- Karl Racine, Attorney General of the District of Columbia
Opened last year as an independent public interest center at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, Tzedek DC works to close the justice gap for low-income DC residents who face debt-related crises. Founded on Jewish values and with support from The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Tzedek DC provides legal services to low-income individuals and families, identifies and promotes policy changes to eliminate obstacles to fairness for low-income and working-class debtors, and reaches out to affected communities to educate and build trust on consumer-related rights and responsibilities.
Tzedek DC founder Ariel Levinson-Waldman says that Eat Well, Do Justice! has been extremely important to the organization and its mission in two ways. “The event raised critically needed funds to fuel our free legal services and financial literacy classes for low-income families. In addition, it has brought together the Jewish, foodie, lawyer, civil rights, DC and anti-poverty communities in an inspiring way. Plus, great people and fantastic food—what’s not to like?!”
Purchase tickets for the September 17th Eat Well, Do Justice! Tzedek DC 2018 Celebrity Chef Kugel Cook-off here. To learn more about Tzedek DC and its work for low-income and working-class people with debt-related problems, visit the organization’s website.