WHEN THE QUEEN OF KOSHER COOKING, JAMIE GELLER, MADE ALIYAH THREE YEARS AGO, IT WAS HUGE NEWS FOR THE JEWISH COOKING WORLD.
By Evan Berkowitz
Celebrity chef, television producer and business woman Jamie Geller began her rise to cooking icon status in 2007 when she wrote Quick & Kosher Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing. This popular autobiographical cookbook was inspired by Geller’s real life at the time, as a recently married woman who gave up her high-powered job in corporate America to start living life as an orthodox Jew.
From the success of that book, Geller has gone on to create the Kosher Media Network, which includes the website JoyofKosher.com, which gets around 300,000 unique hits and approximately 1,000,000 page views every month, and the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine, which has approximately 30,000 subscribers. Like other celebrity chefs, Geller has, in the past, hosted “how-to” cooking television programs. But she has recently branched out into producing and starring in a far more elaborate documentary-style series.
In 2012, she did Joy of Aliyah, which chronicled her family’s move from the US to Israel. Geller said it really struck a nerve with viewers who had gone through similar trials and tribulations when they made their move to the Jewish State. “It was so successful. I got hundreds of comments of people bawling their eyes out and stopping me in the street,” Geller told the Jerusalem Post.
In her most current TV series, called the Joy of Israel, she focuses on her new post-Aliyah experiences. This program, large parts of which can be seen on JoyofKosher.com and YouTube, includes travel show elements and explores the food culture of the diverse lifestyles of Israel.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Geller’s life is that she did not grow up eating kosher or in a very religious home. She also had great early success in the secular business world, as a writer and television producer for HBO, CNN, Entertainment News and the Food Network.
Around the year 2000, still in her 20’s, Geller embraced Orthodox Judaism. Not long after that, she met her observant husband, Nachum, through a matchmaker and began to learn the basics of cooking and homemaking. He encouraged the move to Israel.
“I say living here is living the dream,” she said. Geller loves celebrating Passover in Israel because she is able to observe the entire nation celebrating the holiday in unison. “You can feel the Passover fever in the air—everyone is prepping for Passover,” she said, likening the national mood to one very big Seder. “You really feel a sense of family, a unity, and oneness and peace, both with your immediate family and the larger extended family…the Jewish people,” she said.
Jamie Geller’s enthusiasm for kosher cooking and Israel; brings that sense of unity and oneness to her followers across the globe, making her one of the most influential Jewish chefs in the world.
She will now be partnering with Winn Dixie super markets to bring new ideas about cooking to our local south Florida Jewish community. Geller will be writing specific holiday recipe e-books and help organize local events including in-store cooking demonstrations. She is planning on producing new cooking videos and holding Twitter parties for her many followers, all with the help and support of Winn Dixie.