‘Aussie Gourmet’ foody love: From Israel to Woodmere


When Naomi Nachman took her radio show, “Table for Two,” on the road last week, webcasting live from Gourmet Glatt in Cedarhurst, it was just the latest of an expanding list of foody adventures for Woodmere’s “Aussie Gourmet.”

From pitching rugelach on the QVC shopping network, to creating and running a culinary arts program at a girls’ sleepaway camp, to staging cooking demonstrations in New York and Israel, to hosting a popular show on the Nachum Segal Network, Nachman has been spreading her unique approach to food and cooking ever since her love of food was awoken while a student at Machon Gold in Jerusalem.
But Naomi Nachman wasn’t always interested in food. “I had no involvement with cooking growing up,” she told The Jewish Star. “My mother’s shocked that I became such a foody.”

Born in Sydney, Australia, Naomi studied in Israel after high school, returning Down Under for two years before arriving in the United States for a friend’s wedding in December 1991.

“I never went back,” she said. “I like it here — there was a good Jewish social life.” She met her husband, Tzvi, a year later. They married in Australia in August 1993.

But it was her year in Israel that awakened her food sense. “It opened my eyes about the kosher food that was available,” she recalled. “I wanted to try it all.”

She earned a degree in early childhood education from Touro College in Flatbush and taught kindergarten at Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem and at the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side, where she and her husband lived for ten years before moving to the Five Towns. She taught both preschool and culinary classes at the Jewish Community Center in the Five Towns and opened her personal chef business, catering for individual families for Pesach, Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Six years ago, Ossies hired Naomi to do cooking demonstrations, to “open up kosher awareness of the kosher fish that’s out there and how to cook it,” she said. She was also a guest on Miriam Wallach’s radio show on the Nachum Segal network.

“The studio reached out to me if I was interested in hosting my own show,” she said. The show, “Table for Two,” began last February. Produced live Friday mornings at 9, its guests have included restaurant owners, chefs, travel groups and winners of bake-offs.
“Naomi has been an overnight sensation on our network,” Wallach, the Nachum Segal Network’s general manager, told the Star. “Originally, she was meant to co-host with someone else (hence Table for Two) but the other person could not commit to the time necessary and Naomi quickly demonstrated her ease and ability to host on her own for the full hour.

“Naomi’s infectious energy comes through loud and clear to anyone who meets her and to her loyal fans who tune in. She puts considerable energy, effort and pride into each program and it shows — and her [Australian] accent makes it even more fun.”

Seven summers ago, Naomi started a culinary arts program in Camp Dina after she approached the camp’s executive director, Alex Gold. She traveled up two nights a week and worked in the back of the recreation hall where they had an indoor basketball court, on a table with one plug-in electric burner and two mini convection ovens the size of microwaves. When the camp moved from Dingman’s Ferry to Stroudsberg, Penn., they set up a culinary arts room with industrial sinks, counter tops, a huge industrial oven for the program, and air conditioning. The campers prepare and cook pizzas, donuts, hot pretzels, brownies and other foods as well.

“They tell me it’s the most popular program,” she laughs. “Kids learn baking and cooking skills to carry them through life.”
The Nachmans daven at Congregation Bais Ephraim and three of their four daughters attend HALB-SKA (the fourth daughter is a graduate).

When asked regarding trademark Australian food that she likes, she mentioned meat pies made with steak and puff pastry and Vegemite — “delicious!” she proclaimed — a spread for bread unique to Australia made from yeast extract. ”You have to be born and grow up in Australia to appreciate it,” she said.

As for her favorite foods, she said that she doesn’t have any.

“I like food over dessert,” she admitted. “Meats, fishes, interesting appetizers. I love soup. I really love all food.”

Naomi Nachman’s blog is at TheAussieGourmet.com