TISH Festival News: Q&A with Leah Koenig

Recently, POLIN Museum had a chance to interview writer & cookbook author, Leah Koenig.

  • Koenig is returning back to POLIN Museum’s TISH Jewish Food Festival for its 2nd edition. She has already made a name for herself in the world of Jewish cuisine, has been featured on several television programs, and featured in various articles (, Hemispheres, Wall Street Journal, etc).
  • On Friday, October 18th, from 7PM-9PM, Leah will be preparing the Shabbat dinner, and will be sharing her latest cookbook devoted to Jewish cuisine titled, “The Jewish Cookbook”  (published by Phaidon). This will be taking place at Charlotte Menora, (2 Grzybowski Square, Warsaw).

PM: Thanks so much for your time Leah, and welcome to Warsaw again. How did you get connected to POLIN and the TISH Festival?

LK: I participated in the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival a few years ago - leading cooking demonstrations and hosting a Shabbat pop-up dinner - and was looking for a chance to come back to Poland. A friend and colleague of mine, Laurel Kratochvila of Fine Bagels in Berlin let me know about TISH, and put me in touch with the organizers. The rest was history!


PM: What will you be doing in the TISH festival?

LK: I'm partnering with the wonderful Charlotte Menora Bistro to host a Shabbat dinner on the 18th of October. It will feature recipes from my most recent cookbook, The Jewish Cookbook - a collection of 400 Jewish recipes from around the globe which was published by Phaidon Press this September.


PM: Why is a Polish-Jewish culinary festival important in today's world?

LK: The festival offers a chance to explore Poland's Jewish culinary roots in a serious and also fun way. It will allow participants to make connections they may not have considered before. Honestly - since Jews have lived and cooked just about everywhere at some point in history I would love to see Jewish culinary festivals happening around the world!


PM: What are some foods that remind you of home, and will we be seeing some of these foods in the festival?

LK: Oh what a lovely question! I have Eastern European roots (Russian and Lithuanian,) so the foods of my home on the Jewish holidays come from this region. It's things like chicken soup, challah, brisket, potato latkes, and kugel. Warm, comforting food that is filled with love.


PM: Are there any revivals of these foods taking place in Poland, Europe, or other countries?

LK: I'm not sure about Poland - I hope to find out more! But I know there are revivals of Jewish cuisine happening in places like Berlin and Budapest. These places have deep and significant Jewish religious, cultural, and culinary histories that today's generation is exploring with renewed interest.


PM: You newest book, tell us more.

LK: My newest book is, “The Jewish Cookbook,” - which contains more than 400 recipes of Jewish dishes from around the world. So everywhere from Poland and Lithuania, to Morocco, India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Turkey... It was an absolute pleasure to research and write about the history of global Jewish cuisine. Jewish food is a global tapestry with dishes coming from all around the world. It is as particular as the dishes on one Shabbat table and as expansive as the world.


PM: This sounds great, and we are really looking forward to your Shabbat meal during TISH.


To learn more about Leah, her cookbooks, and more, visit her website >>

See Leah in action, and learn how to make a few of her recipes.


Tickets are available but going fast. Contact Charlotte Menora at [email protected] today to reserve your seats for this special Shabbat dinner. Come get your copy of Leah’s new cook book, and have her sign it!