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Meet Micah Siva: Recipe Creator, World-Traveler, Dietician & Jewish Food-Lover

Maybe you’ve tried making our Butternut Squash Kugel, welcomed the warm weather with Mexican Corn Salad with Tahini Dressing or began your weekend with Challah French Toast Kabobs. These stunning and unique recipes all have one thing in common—they’re all created by our multi-talented contributor, Micah Siva.

Micah has traveled to over 50 countries, and is a registered dietician, trained chef, and author and illustrator of a children’s book about Diabetes and nutrition. Her website features a blog, recipes and more info about her. You can also find her on Instagram @nutritionxkitchen to follow her daily activities and see her cooking in action.

I recently got the chance to find out more about Micah’s inspirations, skills and passions. Read on to find out her favorite recipe she’s created for 18Doors and who has influenced her cooking the most. 

You’ve done quite a bit of traveling. Tell us a bit about where you grew up, where you’ve traveled and how that’s influenced your cooking.   

I grew up in Calgary, Canada—and I spent time in Montreal, attended culinary school in New York and went to college in Nova Scotia. Then, moved to Toronto, London (UK), San Diego, and am now in the Bay Area. Between my moves, I’ve visited over 50 countries, and have tried countless dishes that have given me inspiration for what I make at home. Not only does my love of traveling influence my cooking, but I am also a registered dietitian, so oftentimes my recipes are approached with both a culinary and healthy lens. 

Micah shopping for ingredients at a Marrakesh market

Now that you’ve moved again, what about your new food scene in San Francisco are you excited to explore?

I’m excited to explore the Bay Area food scene, especially when it comes to sourdough and local wineries. I don’t think there’s anything better than fresh bread, salted butter and a glass of spicy red wine!

You have so many unique, beautiful recipes on our website. Aside from your travels, where do you get your inspiration in the kitchen from?  

Travel has been a huge source of inspiration, but I also draw on traditional foods that I grew up with, and I’m interested in trying to modernize and re-invent the Jewish foods my family made. I also love to visit markets and grocery stores, and incorporate seasonal ingredients where I can. And I can’t lie… some recipes come from me finding forgotten ingredients in the back of my cupboards! 

You’re clearly a very talented baker and chef. Where did you learn your skills?  

Thank you! I attended culinary school in New York at the Natural Gourmet Institute (now a part of ICE) before going to college. But my real start in the kitchen was with my grandma, Eva, as a child. Every summer my sister and I would visit my grandparents in Vancouver, Canada. She was an incredible cook who taught me that the way to anyone’s heart was through their stomach. We would make jam, pies, chicken soup, kreplach and “sesame nothings” and she has played a large role in my passion for cooking.  

Behind-the-scenes of a photoshoot

Take us through the steps of creating a new dish. You’ve got an idea, what happens next? And when you finally create the recipe, are there any last-minute changes that you make?  

After I come up with a concept, I start putting pen to paper with a rough blueprint of what I’ll do in the kitchen. Once I have my plan, I start cooking and make adjustments based on taste, texture and a million other factors. Sometimes I start over 2, 3, 4 times until I’m happy with the result. After that I add my notes to the blueprint and write the recipe. There are always adjustments that need to be made, and the process is very fluid. 

We’re really lucky to have you. What do you like about contributing to our organization and how do you connect with our mission of supporting interfaith couples and families?  

I feel lucky to be a part of the 18Doors community! I love looking for new and approachable ways to share my love for Jewish cuisine. I also feel like my grandma would be proud of the work I’m doing for 18Doors, and that is super important to me.  

Both my parents are Jewish, as is my husband. However, my friends and family have all found partners outside of the faith—and they love learning about Judaism as much as I love sharing it. As Jews, we are the minority, no matter how we practice.  

It feels good to to share Jewish cuisines and customs in a fun way that is open to everyone. I also have always been the only Jewish person in my friend group, and love to share the holidays with others. Sharing recipes is my way of celebrating with others, virtually! 

What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve created for 18Doors?  

That’s like choosing a favorite child! I’d have to say that the Passover Pistachio Rose Cake has been a favorite, and I’ve been remaking different versions of it ever since. I love using almond flour in baked goods; it creates a rich, tender cake that actually provides some nutritional benefits as well. This cake is subtly sweet, making it the perfect dessert (or snack!) that is as delicious as it is satisfying.  

rose pistachio cake
Micah’s Passover Pistachio Rose Cake

How do you think food contributes to or illustrates a person’s sense of identity? How do your dishes represent who you are?  

Food is so much more than what’s just on your plate; it is about memories, connections and a slice of how you see the world. I like to think that my dishes show how much I care, my appetite for exploration, learning, and growth and my love for my family. 

Micah and her husband, Josh

It’s Saturday morning and you’ve got an unlimited amount of ingredients to make yourself an ideal breakfast. How do you start your day?  

Haha—can I take a morning off?! When it comes to breakfast, I’m a simple gal. I love a good poached egg, tangy sourdough topped with salted butter and some fruit on the side.

Otherwise, I’m making a stack of pancakes with a fruit salad the size of a bathtub. Oh, and 10 cups of coffee! After that I’d (hopefully!) have my husband doing the dishes while I read a book. 

Sophie Mortman

Sophie Mortman is the Content Manager and SEO Writer at 18Doors. When she’s not busy reading or writing, she enjoys listening to music, watching movies, spending time outdoors and petting every dog she sees.