The Jewish Daily Forward, America’s leading Jewish newspaper, has just released the 2014 Forward 50, an annual list of the most influential Jews in America. This year, three celebrated chefs have been named among the 50: Einat Admony (Babaloosta, Bar Bolonat, Taïm), Ivan Orkin (Ivan Ramen), and Micah Wexler (Mezze, Wexler’s Deli).
Admony, who just opened Bar Bolonat this past spring, told The Daily Meal that of all her culinary creations, she was proudest of her Taïm falafel, which “has made my small restaurants into their own little institutions.” Ramen fanatic Ivan Orkin was the first American to open a ramen shop in Tokyo, and today operates four locations in New York and Japan, which have been cemented as temples to “the art of the slurp.”
Wexler, whose 2011 solo restaurant Mezze closed after barely a year, “emerged from the rubble” in spring 2014 with the already-beloved Wexler’s Deli, an homage to the Ashkenazi comfort food of his childhood.
“There was this whole routine with the same waitress every time, the same comfort foods and this sense of greatness to the deli,” Wexler told the Forward. “I did not realize it as a kid, but growing up around this food really shaped me.”
Two more culinary figures — Nigel Savage of the non-profit organization Hazon, which provides food programs and educational resources for the preservation and sustainable development of food within Jewish communities; and Saul Zabar of Zabar’s specialty food store — have also been recognized for their contributions within the community and the country as a whole.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.