Joan Nathan

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Joan Nathan
Joan nathan 5200800.jpg
BornProvidence, Rhode Island
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Notable worksQuiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

Joan Nathan is an American cookbook author and newspaper journalist. She has produced TV documentaries on the subject of Jewish cuisine. She was a co-founder of New York's Ninth Avenue Food Festival under then-Mayor Abraham Beame.


Joan Nathan was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Pearl (Gluck) Nathan and Ernest Nathan. After receiving a master's degree in French literature from the University of Michigan, she earned another master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[1] As a newspaper food journalist she has visited, among other places, France and Brazil, uncovering new dishes or researching Jewish cuisine.



She was executive producer and host of Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan, a PBS series based on her cookbook, Jewish Cooking in America.[1]


Nathan has written ten cookbooks, winning numerous awards for them. Six are about Jewish cuisine and two on Israeli cuisine. Her goal is to preserve Jewish traditions by interviewing cooks and documenting their recipes and stories for posterity.[2]

In 1985, An American Folklife Cookbook won the R.T. French Tastemaker Award (now the James Beard Award). The New American Cooking won the James Beard and IACP Awards for Food of the Americas and Best American Cookbook. She was guest curator of Food Culture USA at the 2005 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which was based on the research for her book.[1]

Two decades later, in 2005, Jewish Cooking in America won the Julia Child Award for Best Cookbook of the Year, and the James Beard Award (again) for Food of the Americas.[3]

  • The Flavor of Jerusalem, Little, Brown 1975
  • The Jewish Holiday Kitchen, Schocken 1979
  • An American Folklife Cookbook, Schocken 1984
  • The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen, Schocken 1988
  • Jewish Cooking in America, Knopf 1994
  • The Jewish Holiday Baker, Schocken 1997
  • The Foods of Israel Today, Knopf 2001
  • Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook, Schocken 2004
  • The New American Cooking, Knopf 2005
  • Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, Knopf 2010
  • King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, Knopf 2017

Personal life[edit]


She lived in Israel for three years working for Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem.[4]


Nathan was married to Allan Gerson, an attorney; the couple had three children. Nathan divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Martha's Vineyard.[1]


In May 2011, Nathan received a Special Recognition Award from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for her contribution to preserving Jewish culture.[5]

  • 2008, MacDowell Fellow, the MacDowell Colony[citation needed]
  • 2005, Silver Spoon Award, Food Arts Magazine[citation needed]
  • 2002, Honorary doctorate from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Culture[citation needed]
  • 2001, Inductee into James Beard Foundation's Who's Who in American Food and Beverage[citation needed]
  • 1998, Jewish Daily Forward "Forward 50"
  • 1995, Golda Award, American Jewish Congress[citation needed]
  • 1994, Jewish Cooking in America received the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook and the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award

Guest appearances[edit]


In January 2009, she began choking on a piece of chicken at the Art.Food.Hope dinner in Washington, D.C. but was saved by chef Tom Colicchio, who performed the Heimlich maneuver.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "About Joan Nathan". Random House. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  2. ^ "Cooking with chutzpah", Book Section, Haaretz
  3. ^ Joan Nathan profile, New York Times, March 28, 2007.
  4. ^ "Israeli Hanukkah". Archived from the original on 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2011-03-07.
  5. ^ "YIVO 10th Annual Heritage Dinner" (PDF). YIVO. Retrieved May 31, 2011.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Joan Nathan: Book Fest 07". The Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  7. ^ Denchak, Melissa. "Interview with TV Chef Joan Nathan". Food and Wine. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  8. ^ "Hannukah with Joan Nathan". Episode CL9422. Food Network. Archived from the original on 2009-10-10. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  9. ^ "Joan Nathan: An Exotic Holiday Feast". NPR. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  10. ^ Colicchio Uses Heimlich Maneuver to Save Cookbook Author Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine Slash Food, January 19, 2009.

External links[edit]