Tina Wasserman’s delectable dining
Photo: Courtesy Tina Wasserman
“Jewish food, kosher food, shouldn’t scare anyone and it doesn’t have to be bland, brown or dry,” said Tina Wasserman, who will host Anshai Torah’s 2024 Annual Kashrut Event on Feb. 29, 2024.

Anshai Torah’s Feb. 29 Kashrut Event

By Deb Silverthorn

Hometown kitchen heroine, cooking teacher and cookbook author Tina Wasserman will stir the pot at Congregation Anshai Torah for its Annual Kashrut Event. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29. Wasserman will demonstrate a four-course meal while sharing her love and understanding of cooking and Jewish culinary history.

“The Kashrut Event is always a wonderful night for fun and tasty food. It is a blast to learn from our chefs how to enhance our kitchens and, most importantly, how recipes can be altered to be kosher,” said Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick. “Every year this is one of the highlights of the calendar.

Kushnick added, “Tina Wasserman is a mastermind of food and she has so much knowledge to impart. Her menu is phenomenal. I guarantee everyone will enjoy a delicious meal and learn a tremendous amount. Tina brings a wealth of knowledge of Jewish cultures from around the world which she infuses into her cooking and recipes.”

The menu for the evening includes Syrian eggplant purée with pomegranate molasses, arugula salad with dates and sunflower seeds and a Moroccan bestilla with chicken in layered phyllo dough. There will also be a Persian cauliflower and raisin kuku (frittata), Tunisian spiced carrots and an almond poppy seed pound cake.

“No one should be intimidated because every recipe I create must be accessible. I promise you can do it,” said Wasserman, whose recipes come from her heart, mind and travels around the world. “These are all so flavorful. We’ll talk about where the recipes come from and about the ingredients and we’ll enjoy it together.

“Jewish food, kosher food, shouldn’t scare anyone and it doesn’t have to be bland, brown or dry,” she said. “This close to Purim, our dessert is a ‘what to do with leftover poppy seed and almond paste’ treat! It’s all delicious and really doable at home.”

Wasserman graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in education and a master’s degree from New York University. She is the author of “Entrée to Judaism, A Culinary Exploration into the Jewish Diaspora” and “Entrée to Judaism for Families,” its digital version with an interactive component. Her books will be sold at the program, with a donation back to Anshai Torah.

Wasserman wears many chefs’ hats. She teaches cooking classes, is food editor for ReformJudaism.org, is a regular contributor to the Texas Jewish Post and is one of four members of the Les Dames d’Escoffier international honor society which honors women in the food, wine and hospitality industries to specialize in historical Jewish cuisine. A visiting lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout the U.S., she has taught and led numerous Jewish culinary tours abroad.

In 2023, Wasserman was one of 11 U.S. representatives of American Jewish Committee’s Adenauer Exchange program in Germany. The week-long experience provided access to top-level decision makers and insights into the country’s history, culture and current political atmosphere.

Wasserman has been married for nearly 54 years to Dr. Richard Wasserman, whom she met at a United Synagogue Youth event while still in high school. The couple lived in Dallas while Richard completed medical school and research for his Ph.D. at UT Southwestern after graduating from medical school. They made the city their home in 1982. The longtime Temple Emanu-El members have two children, Jonathan (Tanya Phattiyakul) and Leslie.

“My mother lived through the depression and always treated food with respect. A salad was always decorated with a radish rose, peppers and tomato slices. Presentation was important,” said Wasserman. “My seventh grade home economics teacher, Mrs. Levine, connected me to teaching and helped me realize I could share my heritage through food. I’ve spent my life doing so, teaching and creating recipes.”

Anshai Torah’s Kashrut Event is open to the public; registration includes a full dinner of Wasserman’s menu under the kosher supervision of Anshai’s Rabbis Michael Kushnick and Stefan Weinberg.

Chef Daniel Conroy, Anshai Torah’s director of events who received his culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu Dallas, says cooking with Wasserman is a dream come true. “The day I signed up for culinary school I went to a bookstore. Her book was right in front of me on the shelf. I bought it and a few others, went home and read for hours, excited about the future I was heading toward.”

Conroy added, “Tina’s been with me my whole journey as a chef. To have her at this always inspiring, exciting and delicious event is going to be an absolute thrill.”

To register for the Feb. 29 event, visit tinyurl.com/CAT-Kashrut-2-29.

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