Nechamit Rosen (’09) was featured this week in The Forward as the youngest kosher pastry chef in New York City. We caught up with her just before Shabbat to find out for ourselves the path she took after high school and how her time at the Academy helped her along the way.
Since she was young, Nechamit knew she wanted to become a baker—something her parents agreed would suit her as long as she found a kosher culinary school. During junior year, it was Mrs. Ann Dee Holland at the Academy who stumbled upon the (now-closed) Jerusalem Culinary School. Nechamit immediately called the school to do an informational interview. She then presented the program to her parents, saying, “I found something, and now I’m going to make this happen.”
Nechamit first went to seminary in Israel at MMY for over a year before beginning culinary school. She completed her pastry arts education and then returned to Chicago to intern with Laura Frankel of Wolfgang Puck at the Spertus Museum. Upon moving to New York, Nechamit headed to The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA), thinking that as long as there were only two kosher culinary schools in the world, she had better get a certificate from both of them.
Nechamit began another internship, this time in New York, with Village Crown Caterers, where she was able to help cater some prestigious events, including Mayor Bloomberg’s Chanukah party.
As if she didn’t have enough education, Nechamit then pursued a degree at ICE’s Culinary Management program where she focused on business studies so that she can ultimately start her own business.
For now, though, Nechamit is content to serve as the only pastry chef at New York’s popular Kosher Marketplace. In the article in The Forward, Nechamit explains how she landed that gig. She simply walked up to the owner and boldly said, “You don’t have an in-house kosher baker. If you want to thrive in the current market competition, you need an in-house baker. I’m your girl.”
As the store’s only pastry chef, Nechamit estimates she serves most of the 500 customers who come through the store on Thursday and Friday alone. She admits she can’t be sure all of them purchase baked goods, but she knows that most of them do. They sell out of Nechamit’s goodies every week. Nechamit works up to 12 hours a day, six days a week to keep up with her customer demands.
What has helped Nechamit become so successful at only 23 is a lot of grit and planning ahead. She also says that working with Mrs. Jaffe on the Mashpiim/Mashpiot projects prepared her for some of the event planning and behind the scenes work she has to do every day now.
Even after a full day of erev Shabbat baking and pre-Thanksgiving prep, Nechamit admits, “Every day I can’t believe where I am now. I can’t believe all I’ve come through to get here.”