I’ve always been a simple ingredient kind of latke gal—potatoes, onions, eggs, matzah meal, and a little salt. My latke toppings are humble and traditional—sour cream, applesauce, and occasionally some lox if I feel like stepping it up a notch. But no more! After attending my first latke showdown, I’m inspired to mix up my latke game this year.
Five Bay Area chefs put their spin on the traditional latke at The Illuminoshi’s first ever Hanukkah latke smackdown at San Francisco’s Ferry Building a few weeks ago. The Illuminoshi is a group of Bay Area food writers, food bloggers, food entrepreneurs, chefs, PR mavens, restaurateurs, winemakers, beer makers, and others in the food industry who identify as Jewish. Chef and food writer Alix Wall organized the event along with Elianna Friedman, founder of Bay Leaf Kitchen and Lisa Rogovin, owner of Edible Excursions.
Who won the smackdown and took home the top spatula prize? Our esteemed judges Joyce Goldstein, author most recently of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table, and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto, chose Craig Stoll’s Everything Latke fried in Duck Fat as their favorite. The popular vote (chosen by the attendees) went to Michael Siegel for his Sweet Potato Latke with Duck Rillette. But we all went home feeling like winners that evening.
Thanks to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation’s Grassroots Initiative program for sponsoring this terrific event and thanks to Lydia Daniller for taking all these wonderful photos. Check out The San Francisco Chronicle for the winning recipes!