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The Club

We are the MONDAY MORNING COOKING CLUB. The six of us have been cooking together every Monday morning since 2006.

We think of ourselves as our own little melting pot, which is reflected in the heart-warming and gorgeous book we have created. We all live in Sydney, Australia, but come from different backgrounds.

Merelyn comes from Perth, with Hungarian heritage. Jacqui started her life on the Sydney north shore with an English background. Lisa is from Melbourne, of Polish stock. Lauren immigrated as a child from Pretoria, South Africa. Natanya is a Sydney girl with Shanghai/Russian roots, and Paula is from Durban, South Africa, starting her life here as a newlywed.

Our directive at the start was to put together a cookbook to raise money for charity. We then made it our mission to take it one step further, and to actually try to find the best recipes from the best cooks in Sydney’s Jewish Community.

We wanted to share with the world our community’s unusually strong, somewhat obsessive, connection with food.

If someone is ill, chicken soup is promptly made and delivered.
If someone dies, eggs are boiled and bagels are bought.
No flowers are sent; a cake is baked.
If a baby is born, entire meals are prepared for entire families. It is always about the food.

And so we met every Monday morning – to chop and stir, mince and roll, roast and bake, fry and boil. We tasted and ate, laughed and debated, argued and agreed. We culled and vetted, tested and re-tested, and argued and laughed some more. The end result – a collection of brilliant heirloom recipes to share with the world and pass on to the next generation.

Over a chopping board and hot stove, with many cups of tea and the odd piece of cake, a unique bond began to form. We started out as a group of individuals and we are now a sisterhood.

Monday Morning Cooking Club is a not-for-profit group, and all profits from book and merchandise sales go to charity.

We Are The Sisterhood

Lisa Goldberg: Lisa started professional life as a solicitor but is now entrenched in the Monday Morning Cooking Club. She has worked since 2006 in leading the group to produce and publish two cookbooks. During that time, Lisa has appeared in press, radio and TV promoting the book and cooking. Lisa has enormous passion for food and cooking, and a great understanding of, and connection to, the Jewish community.

Natanya Eskin: Natanya started out as a primary school teacher. She has worked on the MMCC project since its inception in 2006. She has also appeared in various media promoting the book and has given cooking classes at St. Ives Village, David Jones, Luscious Affairs and at other private locations in Melbourne and Sydney. Natanya’s has a strong passion for uncovering and preserving recipes.

Paula Horwitz: Paula, together with her husband Gary, created the Bay Swiss empire after arriving here from South Africa in the 1980s. Together they created a new innovated retail concept that combined food, furniture and homewares. Paula has been part of the group since 2007 and is particularly focused on the business side of the project.

Merelyn Chalmers: Merelyn has worked in public relations specializing in the food industry for over 20 years. She was a contributor for 2 years to the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Shopping Guide. She brings to the team her passion for cooking and is thrilled by the broader community’s embracing of MMCC, its Jewish soul and its recipes. Merelyn loves sharing cooking tips and techniques, and teaching unconfident cooks how easy it is to create an impressive meal.

Lauren Fink: Lauren has always been a tireless charity worker and volunteer, and joined the group in its inception to focus on the charitable aspects of the project. She is greatly involved in the Jewish community and has great insight into its workings. She is an accomplished organizer and is a great asset in arranging MMCC events.

Jacqui Israel: Jacqui’s background is in teaching. A founding member of the group, her amazing organizational skills and record keeping has kept things running smoothly for the last 8 years. She has appeared at cooking classes and in-store events looking after marketing and sales.