Diasporic Jewish Brunch | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Diasporic Jewish Brunch

Diasporic Jewish Brunch

The duo behind Jack's Wife Freda publishes a new cookbook

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Ever since Maya and Dean Jankelowitz's pair of buzzy restaurants, both called Jack's Wife Freda, opened five and a half and two years ago, downtown residents and visitors alike have gathered over their small tables to enjoy the couple's Jew-ish takes on brunch.

The restaurants' offerings display a worldliness not found in many others thanks to the fact that Maya grew up in Israel and Dean grew up in South Africa. Take the shakshuka for instance. Instead of eggs floating in bleeding tomato sauce, theirs is green because it's made with tomatillos, green bell pepper, and cilantro.

The couple recently published a compilation of recipes so fans near and far could try their hand at making the restaurant's highly Instagram-able dishes. They also answered a few questions for the JWFW and shared a few recipes from the book.

Why did you decide to publish the Jack’s Wife Freda cookbook now?

Our regulars and guests kept asking us for our recipes! We got to know the team at Blue Rider Press, because they work around the corner from our West Village location and had been coming to breakfast regularly. The timing was perfect: we just celebrated our five -year anniversary for our original Lafayette Street location and two years at Carmine Street, and we had so many great dishes that we couldn’t have them all on the menu at the same time. We love that we’re now able to share our recipes and bring the Jack’s Wife Freda story into people’s home kitchens.

Would you describe the cuisine as Jewish? If not, how would you describe it?

New York magazine reviewed the restaurant when we first opened in SoHo, and their description is spot-on: "South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine”

Do you see Jack’s Wife Freda as part of the recent popularity of Jewish cuisine and restaurants?

We see the restaurant as part of the continual diaspora Jewish culture. It’s great to see people embracing Jewish food in new ways.

Did you ever consider making your restaurant kosher?


Do you enjoy cooking with your sons? Which recipes do they enjoy?

Yes, we love cooking as a family. One of the kids’ favorites to make at home is our chicken schnitzel, which is actually the first recipe my mother ever taught me! It’s full circle.

What do you think Jack and Freda would think of the restaurant?

We hope they would be over the moon. Sometimes it feels like we brought Jack and Freda back; we’re continuing their traditions and it’s amazing to share their love of food and family with so many people.

What's next for you? Another restaurant?

A trip to Israel. After that.... we’ll see!

Green Shakshuka

Jalapeño and Gruyère Pasta

Nectarine and Plum Fruit Crisp

Rose Water Waffles

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