I love food.

Exploring flavors and cultures.

Combining my passions for food and art.

Sourdough crazed.

Everything homemade.

My Culinary Journey

Throughout my life I have always been fascinated by food. As a child, I was often on the chubbier side, frequently requesting the adult menu at any restaurant my family visited. As I grew up, I saw cooking as a means to merge my passions for art and food. The culinary arts became a way of expressing myself and connecting with others. A significant portion of my free time grown up was dedicated to watching cooking videos on YouTube, reading cookbooks, and experimenting in the kitchen. My passion for food and the culinary arts has led me to numerous incredible experiences and I constantly challenge myself to explore and savor the diverse cuisines and flavors from cultures around the world.

Contracted Culinary Projects

Throughout my culinary journey I have always enjoyed cooking and baking for others. In displaying my culinary work on my Instagram, @jonahgershon, I gained a small following in the community. I soon began receiving requests for contracted work such as small dinners and custom baked goods. Over the years I have taken on projects from custom birthday cakes to preparing over 200 decorated cookies for a Bat Mitzvah!

spekld

spekld is the first ever solid stick of brown butter, offering the tantalizing caramel, toffee, and nutty flavors of brown butter in an instant without the hassle and struggle of making it yourself. After coming up with the idea through my time on Food Network, I began working on the project in an entrepreneurship course, Fall 2022. To date I have raised $36,500 for the venture through pitch competitions and the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition which allowed me to work on spekld full time during the summer of 2023. At the end of the summer I held a pop-up at Small State Provisions where we sold out of our 60 sticks of butter in under three hours! I am excited to continue this journey through Cornell eLab this semester. Follow my spekld journey on Instagram, @spekldbutter.

Restaurant Management Course

In Cornell Hotel School's core curriculum, one of the final required courses is HADM 3350: Restaurant Management. During this semester-long course, we were tasked with running a real-time restaurant culminating our skills from previous food & beverage, quantitative analysis, management, and HR courses. Each week a different group (3-4 students) within the class section would be the managers for the night and manage the restaurant operations as well as design a theme to guide the night's menu, decor, and experience. For my management night (2023), we chose the theme of “Secret Garden” that highlighted the life cycle of ingredients, from seed to fruit!

Food Network: Christmas Cookie Challenge

I had an incredible experience being part of the Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2022. The adventure began when they reached out to me through my cooking/baking Instagram (@jonahgershon), and before I knew it, I was on a plane headed to Knoxville, Tennessee, to film the show. Being surrounded by professional "cookiers" and the festive holiday spirit (even though I'm Jewish!) made it an unforgettable and fun-filled journey. It was an honor to showcase my cookie-making skills on a national platform and if you would like to watch the episode it is out now on Food Network (Season 6, Episode 5: Our Better Angels). After the episode aired I chatted with Hey Alma! about my experience on the show as the youngest contestant ever and being Jewish in a Christmas themed show.

Small State Provisions

Working as the head bakery assistant at Small State Provisions in 2021, was my first true experience in the food service industry. West Hartford resident and artisan sourdough home baker, Kevin Masse, had the dream of starting his own bakery. In putting together his first brick-and-mortar location, Kevin asked me to be his first and only employee the summer it opened. Getting the bakery up and running I was involved in everything from creating new daily scone flavors to washing dishes to working the register. I developed a true appreciation for all foodservice workers during this time. Working at Small State allowed me to share some of my creative food passion with the community from baking earl grey mango scones to smores cookies!

Bread+ Subscription

Over my college freshman year winter break, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, I found myself with a little too much time on my hands. Within one night, I organized a pop-up sourdough subscription service and acquired 23 customers/subscribers the next day from our neighborhood Facebook group. Over the next four weeks I baked baked over 100 sourdough loves and pastries for my weekly customer deliveries. Working with two small mixers I worked day and night to run the "cottage food" operation out of my house. This impromptu venture gave me a purpose that winter break to lift the spirits of my customers during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Culinary Camp Director

In 2018 I embarked on my first summer job as head assistant for Elmwood Community Center's culinary camp in West Hartford, Connecticut. The next summer the culinary camp director moved out of state and I offered to take over the camp in 2019. Working with children ages 6-12 was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. That summer I planned six, one-week, sessions, each themed with a different region and culinary cuisine from around the world. Every session I crafted a 20-30 page recipe book which detailed the three to four recipes we would make each day. Dishes ranged from Israeli chicken shawarma to Thai mangos and sticky rice!

Local "Chopped" Competition

At the end of 2018, I was asked to participate in a local "Chopped" competition judged by local restauranteurs at the synagogue I belonged as a child. Naturally I chose my mom to be my partner in crime. With secret ingredients ranging from borscht to seasoned edamame, we created both a main dish and dessert. After executing a pan-seared salmon dish with quinoa, borscht fritters and a ricotta crepe dessert with berry compote and spun sugar, we took home the winning prize!

The Early Years

Growing up, I found myself mesmerized by the magic that happened in the kitchen. Creativity and curiosity were at the forefront of my childhood, constantly experimenting with ingredients and flavors, even if it meant a few mishaps along the way. As I got older, YouTube became my culinary school, and I spent countless hours watching cooking tutorials, learning from chefs around the world. The Food Network became my nightly inspiration, fueling my aspirations to one day share my love for cooking with others. And, if I had to pick a culinary idol, it would undoubtedly be Ina Garten; her elegance and passion for food have always resonated with me. Cooking isn't just a hobby; it's a lifelong love affair.