Honoring Garima Kothari, members feed the front lines, a cocktail syrup CEO checks in, renewal fees are waived. Hannah Howard says "It's a girl!" Stay safe and be well!


Newsletter – May 2020

A Note from Alliance President Rhadia Hursey:

Every spring the Alliance begins its annual membership drive. Because of Covid-19’s economic impact, the Board has decided to extend to all current members a complimentary year of membership. We understand that many have lost their jobs and businesses and we do not want to create another financial hardship. For those who have friends and colleagues who would like to join the NYWCA, we are postponing new memberships until spring 2021. As for credits, the Board has decided to relax the guidelines of tracking and counting of credits going forward. All members will still be able to volunteer for events, but there will be no annual credit requirement to fulfill.

The Alliance has several virtual events that are now available for registration. For members who would like to host a virtual program (happy hour, cooking class, etc.) please email me or NYWCA programs. Lastly, if you have a business that is still operating during this time, please let us know on our Facebook Networking page so our members can support you.

Stay healthy and safe!

Rhadia Hursey



Honoring Garima Kothari

By Dalia David

It’s been several weeks since Chef Garima Kothari was violently killed, allegedly, by her husband Man Mohan Mall. I wonder what she would say to us if she could tell us about her life now. What would she say about her new restaurant? Her catering business? Everything she worked for and built with her talent and skill. All were extinguished in a mere moment in time.

Garima Kothari was one of the most adamant supporters of teaching women independence from their partners. A patriarchal narrative of Indian culture points to the husband as the one with control over all or most financial matters in the home. Garima hired immigrant Indian women who came from these sorts of family structures to work in her Jersey City restaurant, Nukkad. During a conversation this January over pani puri and samosa chaat, she told me she wanted to teach them self-sufficiency. She said that after a month of working at Nukkad, she was seeing a level of certainty and assuredness in these women that wasn’t there before. Her pride in her female team’s mental and emotional improvement made my heart so full. I could not be prouder of my sweet friend. Garima was good, she was kind. She is one of the fiercest supporters of women I know. 

If Garima were still alive today, she would be the five-month pregnant woman and chef who refused to shutter her small business during COVID-19. She spent her last weeks finding new and creative ways to make her restaurant succeed.

One of the final genius ideas she shared on Instagram was “Make Your Own Dosa Kits.” She was selling dosa batter to the public. Brilliant. If Waffle House can sell take-home waffle mix, she could do it too. Resilience was very much in her DNA. There was a recent “Eater” article by Mayukh Sen about her death and her fear of being overlooked when she was running Nukkad. The chefs who seemed to make it were those who had access to the right people, she noticed. Talent and skill were secondary. Garima had come to this country only five years ago. Her determination to accomplish what she set out to do superseded these sentiments even as she struggled with them. 

As a community, we can do one critical and divisive thing that could rectify some of Garima’s plight. We can vow to provide access and open more doors for our female black and brown chef community. Think of the impact we can make if this pledge becomes an inherent and  impermeable quality in us. It would be trailblazing.

Let us take on guardian roles to lift our fellow women to the next level. We can move the needle together as a whole. She would be so proud to see us all work together like this. This would be honoring Garima Kothari’s life and her continued efforts to support women and our industry. Let us give thanks to the life and story of a female who wouldn’t quit and had every right to make it big.

To send condolences, Garima's brother is Gaurav Kothari. His email is kotharibd@gmail.com. He is open to receiving email messages and video messages.

In Garima’s honor, the Alliance is making a donation to Sakhi, an NYC organization that helps women in the South Asian diaspora who are dealing with domestic violence. Click here if you wish to donate. To reach the Sakti helpline, call (212) 868-6741. 

If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help:

In NYC: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) or dial 311. TDD: 1-800-810-7444.

More city resources are available here. New York state resources here and national help lines are here. To find help in New Jersey, click here. 


Virtual Programs

Like everyone else, we've moved online. Come Zoom with us!

An Invitation to Indian Cooking, Class One - Virtual Event

Friday, May 15, 2020, 3:00 - 4:30 PM

An Invitation to Indian Cooking, Class Two - Virtual Event

Friday, May 22, 2020, 3:00 - 4:30 PM

Born Under the Tuscan Sun - Virtual Event

Thursday, May 28, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 PM

An Invitation to Indian Cooking, Class Three - Virtual Event

Friday, May 29, 2020, 3:00 - 4:30 PM

June Book Club: Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure - Virtual Event 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 6:30 - 8:30 PM 

Chefs and Entrepreneurs Give Back  

We couldn’t be prouder of our NYWCA members who are doing what they do best, feeding the need. Here are their stories.

Annette Nielsen’s position as manager of Fairway’s Cooking Place ended when the store closed. Since then, along with a few writing gigs, she’s been working to feed people in need. At God’s Love We Deliver, she assembled and packaged meals. She worked with Great Performances – catering to a different crowd these days – who’ve contracted with the NYC Department of Aging to deliver boxes of food on the Lower East Side.

She also worked with Encore, who partnered with Brigand to deliver 5,000 meals a week to the elderly and home-bound. As a contract worker, she filled in for kitchen staff who were out due to Covid-19. There she chopped mounds of garlic and herbs and prepped potatoes for baking.

She said, “As for most of us, cooking and preparing meals seems a way to provide nourishment and love – particularly if people are going through a challenging time.”

Sarina Prabasi of Buunni Coffee is daily dispatching coffee to multiple hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, post offices and more. The coffee is sent with cups, spoons, sugar, regular and oat milk, and there’s an option to send pastry as well. It's all delivered by community volunteers from Uptown Community Church. See Sarina in action in this clip from the Today Show.

“Brewing coffee is what we love to do, and we are doing it with a lot of love for our essential workers,” says Sarina.

They’re also partnering with Everyman Espresso and Odeko to serve coffee to even more people, uptown and in the Bronx. Click here to donate and support those working on the front lines. When you shop online, members can use code NYWCA for a 15% discount.

Chef Iesha D. Williams, aka The Salty Heifer, has suspended sales of her signature baked goods and instead is shipping Heifer Snack Packs to overworked and exhausted healthcare workers on the front lines. Clinicians, hospital staffers and first responders receive a selection of cookies and bars to help them push through these difficult times. She sends treats by request and is accepting donations to help make it happen.

“We have had some people send to their loved ones on the front line as gifts,” she said. “People have been incredibly generous.”

If you know someone working on the front lines who could use a pick-me-up or you would like to donate and support her efforts, email Iesha at teamsalty@thesaltyheifer.com.

Barbara Sibley, Chef/Owner of La Palapa, has been delivering meals to healthcare workers and food-insecure New Yorkers. In one week her team served 2,000 meals. She’s had the support of her team, World Central Kitchen, Gotham West Market and Hospitality Workers United to make it all possible. She also partnered with Dr. Meryl Rosofsky for a weekly donation to three departments at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

In addition, East Village La Palapa and La Palapa Tacos at Gotham West Market are open for delivery and take out from 12:00 to 9:00 PM daily. Delicious home cooking plus their fabulous margaritas are available. La Palapa East Village also sells groceries – in case your corner bodega is closed.

There is a La Palapa gofundme for hospital meals and the food insecure. If you can, please donate. Her efforts, and those of others are mentioned in this article from Bloomberg News.

Since the end of March, Susan Palmer has been donating to front-line hospital workers two-packs of the amazingly delicious Chocolate Chip, S’mores and Lemon Sugar cookies baked at her Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop. Initially, she was doing this for free, but when people asked if they could purchase cookies for the front lines, she set up Cookies for Hospital Workers to make it happen. The program helps her as a small business by bringing in some needed revenue while allowing her to continue to give back. She matches every order that comes in through her website with a donation of her own. 

“It may just be a cookie, but if I can help brighten their day, then I'll keep on donating,” Susan says. 

She’s also involved with Founders Give, an organization that streamlines gifting to hospitals.They act as the middleman for distribution, providing warehouse space and trucks for delivery, all of which is donated. Learn more on their website.

For the month of April, Jessica Taige, creator of Jessie's Nutty Cups, delivered over 1,300 two-packs of Nutty Cups to Brooklyn Methodist, Lenox Health, Weill Cornell and Beth Israel hospitals, to name a few. She matched the value of all orders that came in through her website and is also involved with Founders Give.

According to Jessica, “The purpose of Jessie's Nutty Cups is to spread 'nutty smiles' around to as many people as possible, one cup at a time. During these crazy times, we can all use an extra smile added to our day, and no one needs them more than the heroes fighting the virus on the front lines. I hope we were able to spread a bit of joy.”

Jessica is now on maternity leave; her donations are on hold for May and will start up again in June.


Member News

Publications & Awards 

Carrie Bachman is the publicist for two books recently nominated by the James Beard Foundation:

“Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making” by Daniel Leader with Lauren Chattman.

“Pasta Grannies: The Secrets of Italy's Best Home Cooks” by Vicky Bennison.

This month’s “Total Food Service" has four articles written by member Joyce Appelman. On page 8, she writes about Alison Fasano and feeding workers at Covid-19 test sites; on page 16, she interviews Elana Horwich, author of “Meal and a Spiel; on page 40, she has various news tidbits in Scoop and on page 50, she interviews the president of the Association of Healthcare Foodservice of New York.

Miriam Rubin also contributed to “Total Food Service.” In her article, she explains how three Hudson Valley enterprises have shifted their business models to feed Columbia County during the pandemic.

Job Opportunity: 

Operations Manager at Brooklyn Delhi


Chitra Agrawal, CEO/founder or Brooklyn Delhi, is seeking an Operations Manager to lead all facets of the supply chain, including purchasing, production, inventory management and logistics in a fast-paced, execution-focused and dynamic start-up environment. This position is part-time with the goal of turning into a full-time role. Please send your resume and cover letter to hello@brooklyndelhi.com. Find the full job listing here.

Great Kitchen Space for Rent or Sale

Polly Talbott has a hands-on recreational cooking school, obviously not running on-site classes just now. It’s a terrific facility to shoot cooking videos, to use as an incubator kitchen or for other opportunities. There's a fully equipped catering kitchen with all the approvals from the Nassau County Health Department. Five ovens and a front and back entrance; full fridge and counter space. Located 1½ short blocks from the LIRR.

Polly has owned this business for 21 years. It is available for rent or purchase. The rent is reasonable. Email Polly at alacartecs@aol.com or call (516) 317-2075.


Bottoms Up

Virtual Happy Hours (and Home School) Keep  Cocktail Syrup CEO Busy During the Pandemic

By Francine Cohen

2020. Aka the year the world reset itself. We kicked off this new year and new decade with tons of excitement about the doubly fresh start we were getting. 

Yet little did anyone (except, perhaps, Dr. Fauci) expect that in two and a half months life would swiftly come to a grinding halt and fresh start would take on a whole new meaning. The hospitality industry was decimated, sending home most employees of the second largest economic sector in this country. Home without any indication of when, or if, they would have jobs to return to.

Related suppliers and vendors felt the same pinch; the farmers and food purveyors were bereft of most restaurant accounts, designers and publicists…the list goes on.

Yet, in all this doom and gloom and uncertainty, Lauren Myerscough, co-founder and CEO of Cocktail & Sons, found both a silver lining and a burgeoning new career to keep her busy with doors open and employees paid. This pandemic has taken her from one job – running her cocktail syrups company that split its business between direct to consumer and on/off-premise sales via distributor network -- now relying primarily on internet sales – to becoming a woman juggling four full time jobs. 

These days Lauren adds home-school teacher and twice-nightly virtual happy hour producer to her CEO and wife/mother titles. She chuckles when asked how she manages to balance it all, instead preferring to share how she juggles effectively and profitably. She explains, “I have to be very strict about my time. I know UPS comes to pick up Cocktail & Sons packages before 2:00 PM, so I’ve set aside the morning to do our online orders, look for small business loans and all the other things that need to happen. In the afternoon I dedicate myself to the show, though I set aside about two hours to do some workbooks with my daughter, Ada, right before the 6:00 PM show goes live.”

She continues, “Max and I split her schooling duties for the day. I usually handle reading. He is the PE teacher and does arts and crafts with her. Max and I know how to work together because we have been running a company together for years. So, it came together pretty quickly. The happy hours started second week of March, then it was a week or so of juggling around.”

Myerscough reports that her juggling act came together within a week after the stay-home rules were instituted. Her daughter’s reading comprehension improves daily and the home bar cocktail syrups business she and Max created is seeing sales jump by triple digits. And, perhaps even better, she has created a much-appreciated community of happy-hour viewers who gather nightly to connect in the way they would love to, but cannot right now: over a good drink at a bar. 

And then there’s Sundays. Myerscough concludes, “Every day is evenly split into thirds, Dani & Jackie’s Virtual Happy Hour, Cocktail & Sons, Ada. Except Sundays. We take Sundays off and completely unplug. Because everything is digital now, the overload will drive you crazy. Sunday is all family time.

Fassionola Cream Soda

Ada (above in her sunglasses) loves to make and drink this “cocktail.”

Topo Chico (or sparkling mineral water)

1/2 oz Cocktail & Sons Fassionola syrup

1/4 oz heavy cream (or half-and-half)


In a tall glass place a splash of Topo Chico or mineral water. Add Fassionola syrup and stir together a bit to thin it out. Add cream and then ice to fill the glass. Top off with Topo Chico or mineral water and stir gently to combine.

Makes one drink.

Let's Connect

Here's the best way to reach out to committee leaders:

President: nywcapresident@gmail.com

Newsletter: nywcanewsletter@gmail.com

Programs: nywcaprograms@gmail.com

Social Media: nywcasocialmedia@gmail.com

Website: nywcawebsite@gmail.com

Member Benefits: nywcamemberbenefits@gmail.com

About Us

NYWCA is an organization of professional women in the food and wine industry, dedicated to encouraging cooperation, networking and education among its members.  Learn more.

Newsletter Team


Joyce Appelman
Stacy Basko

Miriam Rubin


Francine Cohen

Dalia David


Have an idea? We're always looking for insider tips on trends, happenings and things to see and do. Drop us a line at nywcanewsletter@gmail.com.

Guidelines: All submissions must be ready to publish. Articles should be edited and copy edited to a maximum of 300 words. Recipes should include headnotes that provide context and do not exceed 200 words. Photos, illustrations or artwork must be cropped, sized and ready to go. Editors reserve the right to edit for space and style when necessary.

Deadline: All files must be received by the 5th of the month to publish on the 15th.

Specs: Please send articles in Word or Google Docs and JPEGs of artwork. If using a cellphone, large size photos preferred (please turn off location on phone before taking pictures).

Policy: The newsletter is published by and for members of the Alliance, with a focus on events that take place in and around New York City. If an event is local, but run by a nonmember, the committee will consider publishing it in the newsletter. Events run by non-members that are located outside the area will not be included. 

Program Cancellation Policy: 

NYWCA policy is that cancellations made seven days or less before an event are not refundable, unless the member who is canceling can fill her space with someone on the wait list or another replacement. Up to seven days, members can cancel through their profile page, or by contacting the  organizer. The Treasurer will issue the refund via original form of payment, less the $5 cancellation fee to cover processing cost. 

Copyright © 2019 New York Women's Culinary Alliance, all rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you currently have, or have previously had, a New York Women's Culinary Alliance membership.

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