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Celebrate Hanukkah with Renowned Austin Chefs

Prominent Austin chefs come together for a festive celebration and share some of their favorite recipes

When Amanda Rockman and Laura Sawicki — two of the most renowned pastry chefs in Austin — met in 2015, they felt a sense of solace in finding a friend with so much in common, including their Jewish heritages.

(Left to right) Chefs Amanda Rockman, Jo Chan, Laura Sawiki and Mike Diaz

Renowned Austin chefs come together for festive holiday dinners

Laura, Amanda and their non-Jewish partners started celebrating Hanukkah together that year with a festive dinner. This included Amanda’s husband, Nick, and Laura’s partner, Mike Diaz, Executive Chef of Oseyo. With the majority of attendees in the hospitality industry, the food and drinks were incredible — and the celebration of Jewish tradition over food stuck and continued to grow over the years.

Along with Hanukkah, they have celebrated Passover and Rosh Hashanah. Amanda now works as the Director of Culinary Projects at New Waterloo, and Laura is the Culinary Director at Oseyo. Over the years, Chef Jo Chan, who recently opened Bureau De Poste at Tiny Grocer, has also been added to the crew through her wife, Leah, who has Jewish roots.

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Bibingkaniyot by Chef Jo Chan

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Korean Pear Sauce by Chef Laura Sawicki

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Chipotle Citrus Braised Brisket and Sauce Reduction by Chef Mike Diaz

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Sheet Pan Latkes by Chef Laura Sawicki

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Raisin Kugel by Chef Amanda Rockman

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Mani-Spritz Cocktail by Chef Amanda Rockman

Enjoying traditional Jewish cuisine together

We were lucky to join this year’s Hannukah celebration with this incredibly talented and fun-loving crew. As we sat around the table, folks shared their varied experiences of growing up Jewish in America and how their families celebrated certain traditions. Many had lost a Jewish community, unable to keep these types of traditions alive, until recently when this one in Austin formed.

During the gathering, we were blown away by the traditional Jewish cuisine that we had never tasted before, in addition to the strong sense of camaraderie. These prominent Austin chefs were generous enough to share some of their favorite recipes for Hanukkah dishes. As we broke hallah and enjoyed the delicious food, the kind-hearted souls who prepared the dishes shared some of the background and inspiration behind them.

As a special treat for Tribeza readers, you can view some of their treasured recipes.