Maya Jankelowitz should be your taste buds’ best friend. She is the co-owner of the popular bistro Jack’s Wife Freda in Manhattan, New York with her husband–which is a blend of American and Mediterranean cuisine with a down to earth atmosphere. Jankelowitz also recently released a book with the restaurant’s recipes.
What makes this restaurant so different is the fact that it’s centered around a Jewish immigrant love story. As their website explains:
“Freda & Jack met and married in Johannesburg circa 1930’s. They had a son and daughter and a handful of grandchildren. Their grandson Dean always dreamed of America, the America on TV and as a teenager he packed his few items and began his great adventure. It wasn’t until 2003 that life opened it’s mighty divide and Dean met Maya. Maya too had come to NYC to find that spark and special something. Dean convinced Maya that they could make a life together. And they got married in Maya’s homeland Israel at their spiritual center the Western Wall.”
Dean’s grandmother Freda was an incredible host, gracious & warm, always having family, friends, and couple strangers over-—and always lots of food. So when we woke up and said “Jack’s Wife Freda”! we laughed and laughed some more, and then said ‘why not?'”
Even if you don’t live in New York City and can’t make it to the restaurant, the cookbook makes it possible to have amazing dishes your bubbe would love, with a fresh twist.
We were able to talk to Maya about some fun stuff, like her favorite Yiddish word, what book publishing it like, and her favorite TV show:
What’s your favorite Yiddish word:
Balaboosta (a good homemaker)
What’s the most surprising lesson you’ve learned since getting a book deal?
The whole publishing process was a fun learning curve! The biggest surprise was just how personal this project was to us and then working together with so many people to bring it to life.
What are you favorite dishes to make at home with the kids?
Chicken schnitzel with mashed potatoes! They love to help pound the chicken and mix the eggs, just like I did when my mother taught me her schnitzel recipe.
What TV show have you binge watched?
“Mozart in the Jungle.”
Biggest pet peeve:
If you were a Jewish holiday, which one would you be?
If you could serve a meal to one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be?