NJ Jewish Link & 5TJH: Masbia’s Chop Hunger IV on the Upper West Side Was a Blast!

Posted on: February 16, 2023

By Laura Allen

Masbia’s Chop Hunger IV that took place on Wednesday, February 8th at the West Side Institutional Synagogue was a sold out, one of a kind culinary event where the ticket holders had a blast! The exclusive event was a friendly juxtaposition of two culinary worlds – up north vs down south, home vs restaurant and non-kosher vs kosher. The chefs on stage were cookbook author Naomi Ross of Long Island, representing up north as well as kosher home cooking, and restaurateur Micah Seavers of Kentucky, representing down south and non-kosher restaurant cooking.

The exciting twelve course feast was held to raise funds to feed the needy at Masbia Soup Kitchen Network’s three locations. The event featured participants who had actually worked hands-on with Masbia in the past.

Micah, owner of Southern Red’s BBQ & Catering, first worked alongside Masbia after having turned his restaurant into an emergency relief center due to the aftermath of a tornado that had ripped through his hometown in Kentucky in 2021. That is when Masbia’s Executive Director, Alexander Rapaport, first reached out to see what was needed and in what way Masbia could help out. Within days, the Masbia Relief Team arrived from NYC with trailer loads of much needed equipment and supplies. Together, they cooked and delivered meals and supplies to families in the surrounding area who had been left without power.

Naomi, a cooking instructor who recently debuted her first cookbook, The Giving Table, has volunteered with Masbia on many occasions. Aside from doing food rescues with Masbia, she also  volunteered on site, cooking for hundreds during the height of COVID. She mentioned Masbia and their work in the fight against hunger in her cookbook.

The event was emceed by the fabulous Melinda Strauss, a digital content creator who is a long-time supporter of Masbia through many of her endeavors, such as her famous annual Jewish Food Media Conferences and her personal birthday fundraisers.

The event featured twelve courses – six from each chef. As they displayed their culinary skills live on stage, they gave some background on the dish that was next up to be served. The friendly banter between the participants was lively, entertaining, and funny.  Executive Director Alexander Rapaport, closed out the event by thanking all the presenters and participants and reminding everyone that we are going into the most resource-demanding season of the year which is Purim and Passover and that Masbia relies on everyone’s charity dollars to make it all happen.