Modern Jewish Food with "What Jew Wanna Eat"

"No matter your religion, you can enjoy Jewish food."

By Michelle Valigursky

Armed with a great big vision, a helping of family tradition, and a good bit of playful fun, food blogger Amy Kritzer 05B approaches Jewish food in a thoroughly modern way. Her recipes introduce new elements to dishes that have been served at Jewish tables for centuries, and her loyal fans can't get enough. 

As Kritzer declares, What Jew Wanna Eat "ain't yo bubbe's blog." Bubbe is the Yiddish word for Grandmother, and Kritzer's Bubbe Eleanor serves as her inspiration. When she founded the blog, she said, "I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, but needed a new goal, a challenge, to get back to my culinary roots. So, I called up Bubbe Eleanor and pleaded for her to send me her best recipes. Stat!"

Kritzer has fond memories of braiding challah bread and rolling out rugelach in her bubbe’s kitchen. "Growing up we always cooked as a family, holidays were really important, and my bubbe had a lot of traditional recipes," she says. "I thought it would be fun to take some of her recipes and modernize and update them so they can appeal to everyone. I’ll take hummus, for example, which is more of an Israeli recipe, but I'll add Sriracha or roasted beets."

On her blog, Kritzer answers the primary question. "What is Jewish food? Cuisine that has evolved through the cooking traditions of Jews around the world, influenced by kosher living and traditional holidays." She encourages everyone to try her recipes, no matter their religion. As she explains, "My modern interpretations of classic recipes bring new light to old favorites and I love bringing ingredients from other cultures to create a whole new unique cuisine."

What Jew Wanna Eat takes traditional cooking up a notch - and then some.

Amy Kritzer

Amy Kritzer 05B

From Food Concept to Blogging Success

Founded in December 2010, What Jew Wanna Eat is colorful and fun. Kritzer's accolades continue to build, and her talent has been featured on Today Food, in Bon Appetit, Redbook, Cooking Light, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Joy of Kosher, and many other noteworthy news venues.

So how did this all get started? "I was reading food blogs for fun while I was working at a corporate job, and I thought 'Hey, I should start a blog. I can do this,'" Kritzer says. "After about six months I realized I loved it so much that I quit my job and went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. I finished that about a year later, now I'm blogging, teaching cooking classes, catering, pretty much anything food-related that I can do."

Amy's work includes speaking at conferences, freelance writing, recipe development for top consumer packaged goods, and brand ambassador work. She has even created her own line of gourmet items. "I love making unique twists on the recipes I grew up with, but enjoy connecting with my readers even more. Nothing makes me happier than hearing their recipe successes and how cooking my concepts connects them to their roots."

Kritzer is glad she started her blog in Austin. "I moved from New York to Austin, and there is a great food scene here and a welcoming blogger community. Plus, I'm the only Jewish blog in town!" she explains. “It was the right place for me to launch."

Part of Kritzer's success comes from her ability to share openly and lead by example. Her work has inspired countless bloggers and would-be chefs. "When I hear about a reader making my rainbow challah for the first time, just like her grandmother did, or a mother trying nutella rugelach with her young children, I just couldn't be prouder. I love when readers send me photos of their work!"

For those ready to start their own blog, she advises, "Picking a niche topic helps in this crowded market, something very specific. Network with other bloggers. Just have fun."

Editor's Note: Kritzer is the co-author of the #1 Kosher e-cookbook 4 Bloggers Dish Passover: Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors. She is also hard at work on her next cookbook!

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Michelle Valigursky