Rachel lives with my mother, and is a very dear friend of mine. She is a brilliant knitter and stellar cook, and I can only imagine what a professional cook in her family would be able to do. See below.
My aunt Janet Amateau is a professional chef who has been running a restaurant outside of Barcelona for several years while researching the roots of Sephardic cooking. I've included her bio below. She'll be in Philly to visit the first week of February and is looking for a venue to conduct a cooking class, preferably in a home kitchen that can accommodate ten or more students. A typical class includes either three savory and one sweet dish or four savory dishes, and the class concludes with a meal. Do you know anybody who might be interested in hosting?
Thanks for you help!
ABOUT JANET AMATEAU
Janet Amateau is a descendant of the Ottoman-Sephardic (Judeo-Spanish) communities of Rhodes and Adalia who had the good fortune to grow up in New York in a (half) Ladino-speaking household immersed in the generous, hospitable, Sephardic tradition of preparing and sharing delicious meals over lively conversation. For over a decade she worked in international hospitality and tourism, in that time creating menus for landmark restaurants and hotels including New York’s Tavern on the Green and The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. From 2005 through 2007 she catered the annual European Day of Jewish Culture for the City of Barcelona and has been a frequent lecturer to the education staff of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York. Currently she lives in Catalonia and owns a restaurant, Tradescantia, on the Mediterranean coast between Barcelona and Gerona.
Since its debut in 2008 Janet's blog, SephardicFood.com, has become the first point of reference on Sephardic food for thousands of readers from Argentina to Russia. She is featured in a new seafood cookbook, The Fishmonger's Apprentice by James Beard Award-winner Aliza Green (scheduled for release in January 2011), and is the subject of the 2011 Passover feature article in The Washington Post, written by Jane Black. She has been interviewed recently by Doreen Carvajal of The NY Times/International Herald Tribune about the Sephardic experience in modern Spain and by Joan Nathan who, after eating at her restaurant, declared her "a fabulous cook". In Spain Janet’s cooking has drawn comparison to that of Carme Ruscalleda, one of the country's six 3-star Michelin chefs.
Janet moved to Spain in 2005 to investigate Sephardic food at its roots. Her search has led her all over the country and is the subject of an upcoming book. In her lively and informative cooking classes she brings this fascinating information to life through her unique - and uniquely qualified - perspective, encompassing history and the present-day Judeo-Spanish experience along with lessons on how to prepare dishes in the Sephardic tradition. “I don’t think it’s possible to explore a culture without examining its cuisine or a cuisine without examining its culture," she says in her blog. "They are intertwined and interdependent, influenced as much by philosophy and custom as they are by the ingredients available at the local market.... I hope to impart not only a sense of what it is to be and feel (and eat, of course) Sephardic, but an opportunity to live and explore our legacy in a meaningful way in the 21st century.”