Putting a New Spin on a Traditional Dish at Tzedek DC’s Kugel Cook-off

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff on . Posted in Community News

On Sept. 25, legal aid group Tzedek DC held its inaugural “Eat Well, Do Justice! Celebrity Chef Kugel Cook-off,” showcasing DC chefs as they created their own takes on kugel.

Chef Mike Friedman of Red Hen and All Purpose and Chef Alex Levin of the Schlow Restaurant Group took the more traditional route, both using their grandmothers’ recipes. Chef Kyle Bailey of The Salt Line adapted the sweet noodle kugel to include goat cheese and blueberries. Chef Danny Lee of Mandu and Chiko created the only savory kugel of the evening, with a crunchy exterior and a potato filling.

All four kugels received immense praise from the 300 attendees and the four guest judges, including journalist David Gregory and food maven and cookbook author Joan Nathan. Levin ultimately took home the prize, and his winning “Savta’s Kugel” was subsequently published in The Washington Post.

In addition to tasting and voting on their favorite kugel, attendees also heard about the impact that Tzedek DC is having on vulnerable local families dealing with the justice gap that exists for low-income DC residents facing debt-related litigation. Tzedek DC’s mission is to safeguard the rights of low-income DC residents facing debt-related crises. Started by founder Ariel Levinson-Waldman with a fellowship from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Tzedek DC embodies the power that the Jewish community has when it dedicates itself to tikkun olam (repairing the world).

The program included a short documentary film produced pro bono by Stone Soup Media in which several Tzedek DC clients shared their stories. The six-minute film can be viewed on Tzedek DC’s website, www.tzedekdc.org. 

Tzedek DC has received tremendous support and encouragement from the DC Jewish community at each state stage of its development. From the very beginning, Federation in 2015 assigned a board member, Ron Glancz, to the then concept-stage idea, and he eventually became a founding Tzedek DC board member. Earlier this year, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington made Tzedek DC their first Strategic Partner. They were represented at the event by Rabbi Batya Glazer. The Jewish Food Experience, which was a sponsor of the event and helped promote it within the community, donated the gift baskets that each of the judges received at the end of the evening. They were represented by Director Paul Entis and Emily Landsman. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s staff representation at the event included Managing Director Marci Harris-Blumenthal, Ned Konin, and Sarah Rabin Spira of PJ Library.

Eat Well, Do Justice brought together a wide and diverse community of over 300 supporters and friends — including DC Councilmembers Elissa Silverman and Vincent Gray, multiple DC judges, partners and leaders at many of DC’s top law firms, and philanthropic leaders from the Jewish and civic communities — and raised over $110,000 to support Tzedek DC’s work advocating for low-income families suffering from debt-related crises.

By Kol HaBirah Staff