If you’re anything like the staff at 18Doors, you spend way too much time looking at food-related Instagram feeds. Just us? Either way, you don’t have to waste your time going down a babka rabbit hole, because we already did. And let me tell you, there is some serious Jewish cooking and baking going on right now. From the owners of cafes and restaurants worthy of being the center of your next vacation to chefs who are also legit photographers and artists, this is a talented group. It wasn’t easy narrowing our many favorites to 10, but here’s who we think is killing it on Instagram right now, Jew-ish food-wise.
Lauren’s recipes live on her blog and Instagram, “Minty’s Table”—which is named after a fictitious restaurant that she and her dad started when Lauren was 4 years old. How adorable is that? Her self-illustrated recipes are not only works of art, but also a beautiful fusion of her family’s multicultural heritage: Her mother is Peranakan Chinese from Singapore, her father is Italian American and her husband is Ashkenazi Jewish.
Scroll through her page and you might notice her love of ice cream; it’s just one of those things that makes her happy, always. Through gorgeous greens and soft blues, her comforting watercolors make me feel like I’m being wrapped up in a warm blanket. You’ll find cocktail recipes, like an “Old Fashioned” and a “Curry Puff Knish” recipe—a mash-up of the Singapore curry puff and Jewish potato knish. You may even be able to snag one of her handmade greeting cards, if you’re lucky. Oh, and she’s our newest contributor. Check out the Pineapple Jam Rugelach recipe she shared with us.
Zak’s hip kosher establishment won Best Bakery in Miami and you can practically smell his shop through the spectacular photos. He’s nailed the “cool guy with a beard” aesthetic with endless bird’s-eye shots of freshly cut bread, cute yet informative captions, funky illustrations and personal anecdotes. Why do people flock from near and far to visit Zak’s bakery in real life? It’s all about the bread—inspired by French, Mediterranean and other global traditions.
They’ve also nailed the other baked goods, which are usually combinations of unique and crazy flavors. Check out the guava Shavuot cheesecake, key lime pie hamantashen and vegan leek latkes. Next time you’re in Miami, be sure to stop by this multicultural bread-making institution.
This proud Mexican chef with deep Jewish roots is the master of all things sweet—and you’ll find challah-shaped glazed doughnuts, caramelized matzo with Mexican chocolate and more on her personal page. She’s the owner of two NYC-based shops, La Newyorkina (which focuses on ice cream and sweets) and Fan-Fan Doughnuts. Her family has a unique story: Her Jewish ancestors headed to Ellis Island from Ukraine in the 1920s but ended up in Mexico, and they kept their identity alive through food. However, as years passed, the two culinary traditions began to merge.
Ana, Fany’s grandmother, continues to host large family lunches on Thursdays in Mexico. Fany explained to the Jewish Food Society that “Herring might be served at the same meal as jicama with cucumbers, salt and chili, and matzo ball soup shared table space with mole.” Fany recently hosted a free & virtual “Tres Leches Babka” class with the JCC of San Francisco. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any chances to learn with her.
Samantha is all about trying out new flavors and making weeknight cooking fun, doable and delicious. Her account is flooded with colorful photos of her creations, which heavily incorporate Jewish, Mediterranean and Italian influences, among others. I’m impressed by her gorgeous food plating skills; how does she keep her dishes so pristine looking? From her Blueberry and Apple Bourekas (which were an instant hit on 18Doors) to her Chicken Saltimbocca, it’s pretty clear Samantha’s love of world cuisine runs deep.
She was raised Jewish in Brooklyn, moved to Hawaii in her teens and spent time in Southern California, and her life journey is reflected in her recipes. This kindhearted and curious cook has some pretty honest words for us: “I urge you to experience the culinary world with a diverse palette, an open mind and a good appetite!”
Jaimie, whose emoji-filled bio explains that she is originally from Taiwan, “married to an American Jewish boy, and now based in New York, is all about trying new things.” From working on chocolate marble cake to impress her in-laws and sharing her experience finding za’atar at a farmer’s market, Jaimie is eager to explore the culture and heritage of her husband through Jewish cuisine. She also shares her experiences of missing home, living in a new place and cooking traditional Taiwanese dishes.
What’s so exciting about her blog is that almost all of the recipes she uses come from other people’s cookbooks—which she marks as a hashtag at the bottom of her photos, whether that’s “@jakecohen #🔯ishcookbook page 170” or “@ottolenghi @tara.wigley #plentymorecookbook page 90.” This means I can go buy the cookbooks myself, and attempt to make something as beautiful as hers! For the second anniversary of her blog, Jaimie created her own recipe for “Matcha Honey Red Bean Challah.” Check out her unique and tasty recipe below!
A recipe for Thai Iced Tea Rice Krispies, videos of a Goldendoodle pup and casual cooking videos. You’ll find it all, and more—family, animals, sport references and of course, food, on Leah’s Insta page. This alum of the Culinary Institute of America and former contestant on Top Chef owns two restaurants, inspired by her love of everything edible. Her restaurant, Pig and Khao is influenced by the cuisines of her parents—her dad, who tragically passed away from COVID, “just a Jewish guy from New York” and her mom, a Filipina. The restaurant is described as “Kick-*** Southeast Asian food served up with a gnarly side of LES (Lower East Side).” Her second restaurant is Piggyback New York, an Asian Fusion restaurant.
Leah and her husband, Ben, met when he worked as a sous chef at Pig and Khao, and the two were married by a Rabbi at the restaurant under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy). One more thing: If you’re a fan of dog Instagram accounts, check out Lil Kimchi Puppy Chef, Leah & Ben’s adorable self-described “Goldendoodle puppy and the mascot for my mom’s 2 restaurants.”
What do you cook for a “Midwestern Passover?” How do you decorate a cookie with an ugly Hanukkah sweater? Molly, the host of Girl Meets Farm on The Food Network invites us into her inner life through cute family pics, culinary celebrations (her new mint-colored fridge) and of course—her fun and colorful food, which often include sprinkles. Her edible creations are inspired by the heritages of her Jewish mother and Chinese father and her Midwestern surroundings.
Curiosity seems to be the word for this talented and accomplished woman, who moved to her husband’s family’s farm in North Dakota from Brooklyn, after getting a degree in percussion from Julliard (they now have a daughter). Scrolling through her Instagram posts, my mouth is watering from her brisket sandwiches on pretzel challah buns and giant skillet latke with lox and eggs. She’s also got a gummy bear bark that looks like a Van Gogh painting and a scallion pancake challah that I can practically smell just from the photo. Molly’s page gives off a feeling of small-town nostalgia, mixed with some serious creativity and lots of sugar.
If you’ve been following 18Doors’ featured recipes, Micah’s name may be familiar to you. I recently got to chat with her about travels, inspirations and inspirations—and you should follow her for stunning, plant-forward food and compassionate wisdom. Micah focuses on “looking for new and approachable ways to share my love for Jewish cuisine.”
I love her refreshing honesty as she shares her life journey with us, from unfiltered selfies that say “so, don’t be shy” to her “National Eat What You Want Day” captioned, “go grab a serving or two of your favorite food—no guilt allowed.” Check out her Butternut Squash Kugel, Challah French Toast Kebabs and Passover Pistachio Rose Cake (her personal favorite!) for a taste of her culinary style.
When we were all stuck at home, bored after almost a year of the pandemic, Jake blessed us with his cookbook, Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, which came out at just the right time. And wow, did the Jewish community on Instagram show their support. His own page features many of the recipes from the book, which he says began three years ago when he and his husband started hosting Shabbat dinners that featured food from Ashkenazi, Sephardic and other Jewish communities.
Jake is all about celebrating diversity and cultural differences within the Jewish community, and having a lot of fun along the way. He told the Jewish Journal, “It naturally became this queer love story all surrounding Jewish food, and that’s what excites me and that’s what I fell in love with.” His smile, infectious personality and sense of humor light up his page, alongside mash-ups of traditional Jewish dishes featured in the book, such as “Matzo Tiramisu” and “Shakshuka alla Vodka.”
OK, so Shalom Japan isn’t a chef, but I was too excited about this restaurant to leave them off the list. This Brooklyn-based restaurant is described as “authentically inauthentic Jewish and Japanese food” and is run by chefs Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi. They clearly treat their staff like family, as we are even introduced to them on Insta.
I also am blown away by the quantity of flavors they’re willing to explore; check out the “Japanese Hot Pocket” which includes aburaage (crispy tofu skin), stuffed with cheddar cheese and topped with relish and shiso. Then, there’s okonomiyaki (a Japanese savory pancake) topped with their own sauce, Keupie mayo, house smoked pastrami and bonito flakes. I don’t think I’m ready to hear what’s in their sweet noodle kugel, yet, or I’ll order all three when I arrive.