Skip to main content

In the JOK Kitchen with The Modern Menu

The Modern Menu

Kim Kushner has become known for her healthy, hearty and seasonal foods through her private chef business in Manhattan and now her new cookbook, The Modern Menu.  You know how when you learn a new word all of a sudden you hear that word everywhere?  Well, that is what happened with me and Kim.  Kim's book came out in March and I have been wanting to talk to her and write about her book, but other things kept getting in the way.  Then I saw the book at a friends house one Shabbat, the following week another friend mentioned how much she loved Kim Kushner, I started following her on Instagram and found her on the Today Show, go Kim!

The Modern Menu is all about simplicity.  "To my mind, less is more, simple is always best, and food should look as good as it tastes", says Kim.  She offers vibrant, every day recipes that should be used as a guide with tips and tricks to make them your own. There are no hard and fast rules with Kim, so mix and match and create your own menus as I did in this Modern Rosh Hashanah Menu From Kim Kushner.

Now, it's time to learn a bit more about Kim and her new book, you will also get a chance to win a copy, so keep reading.

What inspired you to write this book?
My students and family inspired me to write this book. I had been teaching cooking classes for many years and every time I taught a class I would use hand outs to discuss the materials and recipes. After several years of this, people would ask "Enough with the hand outs, when's the cookbook coming out?"

When I decided to start writing the book, I knew I wanted it to be something with fresh ingredients, and simple recipes. It had always been a goal of mine to write the kind of cookbook that I would want to cook from.

Tell us a little about your culinary background?
I grew up in a food loving family, my mother is a terrific cook and I always helped her in the kitchen, so food has always been in my background. When I started to cook more seriously, I attended the Institute of culinary education in New York City. I really loved working in their professional program, and used that educational knowledge to develop simple, beautiful recipes for several magazines including Food & Wine and Chile Pepper Magazine. From there I decided to take my work into private capacity, cooking as a personal Chef for some of New York's more discerning eaters, and teaching private cooking classes. It's been an exciting journey to get to where I am now, and I have loved all of the opportunities along the way.

What is your earliest cooking memory?
Earliest cooking memory would be making Moroccan cookies with my mother in the kitchen as a young girl. My mom was a wonderful cook, and really brought me a lot of great memories in her kitchen.

What is your favorite food to cook?
You'll see a theme here - I really love whipping together simple dinners. I really believe that you don't need 15 ingredients and half of the afternoon to create a beautiful dinner. Whether it's grilled fish with lemon and herbs or simple salads, making fresh ingredients shine is my favorite way to cook.

What is your favorite food to eat?
I love authentic Moroccan food that is very very spicy - my favorite thing in the world.

What is your best tip for our busy readers to take home to their kitchens?
I think the best tip for busy people is that less is more when it comes to cooking. You don't have to do a lot to the food when you start with fresh, seasonal ingredients. A little olive oil, lemon, garlic and fresh herbs- that's all you need. The rest should be easy!

Enjoy a sampling of Kim's recipe in this Modern Rosh Hashanah Menu, see more and buy The Modern Menu here