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Is Jonah Reider the next Martha Stewart?

By Sammie Levin
Published: December 2010

It is Saturday night at an upperclassman’s house party. The attendants, equipped with their soft drinks, are either chatting with friends or dancing to the music resounding throughout the room.
It is just a typical scene from a run-of-the-mill high school party, until junior Jonah Reider emerges from the kitchen.
He bursts through the door balancing a tray on his outstretched palm, proudly announcing that the first course is served.
The guests stop what they are doing and crowd around the young chef to find shrimp tempura accompanied by a spicy coconut sauce.
One minute later, the plate is empty and Reider is back in the kitchen.
He later presents what he calls, “tenderly roasted fingerling potatoes with sage butter and arugula, and finishes the night on a sweet note with banana filled crepes.
Those unaware of Reider’s talent are amazed to learn that Reider concocted these dishes almost entirely from scratch in the middle of a party, but his friends are used to his habit, though equally amazed by the intricacy and taste of his creations every time.
“It is always a pleasure to see him walk out of the kitchen with a platter of food, junior Hannah Leiken said. “You know that it’s going to be good.
Senior Yudit Bolotovsky has never seen anyone else cook like Reider, and could hardly believe it when she first witnessed it.
“I was very surprised that he made such a big effort¦and that he would rather cook than hang out with the group, she said.
Reider feels that his behavior does not separate him from groups, but rather brings him closer to them.
“There is something to be said about creating a meal to be shared with friends, he said.
“I cook mostly for my friends because it is a great thing to do when a bunch of people get together. It gives everyone something to do.
Reider’s proclivity for voluntarily cooking at social gatherings is rooted in his passion for culinary arts, the intensity of this passion evident in his claim that “ever since [he] was a young lad the world of culinary adventure has enticed [him].
So where exactly did he learn the techniques needed to make such elaborate dishes from the miscellaneous items in his friends’ fridges?
“My dad, he said. “And from traveling the world. By eating food in Thailand, China, India, Indonesia, and Europe I’ve kind of learned all these different flavors.
Bolotovsky, who Reider claims is especially fond of his cuisine, recognizes these distinctive tastes.
“The food is very good in the sense that it tastes unique, she said.
“It’s not something that you can look up on your own. You’ve never had it before.
Reider does not limit his cooking to parties.
He cooks at home too, generally at least once a week. “Just this morning I made a pot of golden beet soup, he said.
Though he does not see himself taking his passion to the professional level, noting some unappealing qualities of “the world of chefs, he is glad to have the skill.
“People like someone who can cook, he said. “It’s a good quality to have.
He is confident that he will continue to cook throughout his life, wherever he goes, because in his words, “the world is like a frying pan.

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