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Meal Inspiration from a Few Special Moms

At this year’s Edible Schoolyard NYC Benefit, chefs shared stories about the most memorable dishes their mothers ever made

David Chang, photo by Gabriele Stabile

David Chang, photo by Gabriele Stabile

David Chang, Momofuku

“After my mom came back from the hospital when she should not have been cooking at all, she made me a Korean kimchi stew, kimchee jjigae. It’s an extraordinarily spicy fermented cabbage soup. It’s not something most people would make when they just had serious surgery. She said: ‘You’re home; I have to make you something.’ She’s so tough.”

Camille Becerra

Camille Becerra, photo by Tuukka Koski

Camille Becerra, Navy 

“My mom is Puerto Rican so we always ate rice with some sort of protein. Whenever I’m in the mood for warm soul food I dream about her chickpeas and chorizo.”

Alex Raij

Alex Raij, photo by Penny de los Santos

Alex Raij, Txikito and La Vara 

Zapallitos, or stuffed zucchini, were typical in Argentina, where my mother and my father are both from. It’s what I call a dish of patience, deeply flavored, layered and cooked with love.”

Nick Anderer

Nick Anderer, photo by Alice Gao

Nick Anderer, Maialino and Marta 

“My family has always been a fan of stewed or braised meat dishes. Chicken Cacciatore was certainly a favorite, slow-cooked with mushrooms, tomatoes, thyme and scallions. The chicken falls off the bone and the braising sauce is rich with earthy aromatics. It reminds me of some of my earliest birthday dinners at home because I would often request it for those occasions.”  

John Adler

John Adler, photo by John von Pamer

John AdlerFranny’s

“My mother is modest and the last person to claim greatness in the kitchen, but she was an amazing teacher and has a lifetime of tricks, as only mothers can. Chicken Cacciatore grew out of the proud Jewish communities of Rome and Turin. [My mother’s] is a less tomato-heavy version. It’s sweet, salty, savory, earthy and has all the elemental flavors we want in home cooking.”