The Sisterhood

The Club

We are the MONDAY MORNING COOKING CLUB.

Our sisterhood is comprised of Lisa Goldberg, Merelyn Frank Chalmers, Natanya Eskin and Jacqui Israel from Sydney’s Jewish community.

We think of ourselves as our own little melting pot, which is reflected in the heart-warming and gorgeous books 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. Natanya is a Sydney girl with Shanghai/Russian roots. More ideas, more cooking and more love!

Our mission at the start was to search out the best recipes from the best cooks in Sydney’s Jewish Community, leading to our first book Monday Morning Cooking Club. Our second book The Feast Goes On shares recipes and stories from Australia’s vibrant Jewish community. Our third book ‘It’s Always About the Food‘ celebrates the wonderfully diverse global Jewish community. Our fourth book, Now for Something Sweet, a wonderful curated selection of our favourite sweet recipes from around the world (with one savoury chapter for some salty relief) has just been released.

We came together almost 15 years ago as friends with a shared desire to uncover our food-obsessed community’s heirloom recipes with an unwavering mission to preserve recipes from past generations for us, and from our generation for the future. 

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.

In 2006 it all began when we started to meet 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 curated and fine-tuned collection of brilliant heirloom recipes and stories 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.

We want to continue to collect, test, curate, share and preserve those treasured recipes from the older generation for our generation, and from our generation for the future.

 

The Sisterhood

The Working Club
Lisa Goldberg

Lisa Goldberg

I embrace the part of Jewish culture which embodies the saying ‘it’s always about the food’. I am a fresser with an unbridled passion for eating, cooking and nurturing those around me with food. My legal background has given me a great foundation to help guide – and work side by side with – this truly amazing bunch of kind, funny and enlightening women to produce and publish four extraordinary cookbooks. I feel incredibly grateful to have had (and still have) the opportunity – since 2006 – to spend so much of my time dedicated to, and fully immersed in, such a delicious, inspiring and worthwhile project. 

Merelyn Chalmers​

Merelyn Chalmers

I pinch myself to think I’ve been sharing my Mondays with this special group of women for 14 years. I love sharing cooking tips and techniques, teaching unconfident cooks that cooking can be fun and talking about food till forever. I have a pedantic respect for punctuation and well measured ingredients, and I just adore the precision of my digital scales and a freshly sharpened cook’s knife. I have inherited my mother’s passion for searching out elusive ingredients, believing I can cure any of my family’s ills with food, and endless cups of tea. 

Natanya Eskin

Natanya Eskin

I have always been happiest in my kitchen, cooking and baking for my family, and have developed a strong passion for uncovering and preserving recipes. I could talk sweet recipes all day long, especially those that come from the older generations from whom I have learnt so much.  And even after so many years in the MMCC kitchen with the girls – our sisterhood – I love nothing more than a good debate on a Monday morning about what or how to cook. Through much laughter, lots of sharing and many hours, we work hard as a team to create something special for generations to come.

Jacqui Israel

Jacqui Israel

I joined MMCC for a ‘one year project’ in 2006 and I’m still here. I brought my schoolteacher-perfect handwriting, my need to colour code pretty much everything and an organisational determination that I still try to insist on. When I think back to how I felt in those early years, with little cooking confidence, it was unfathomable that I would be part of a project producing the most beautiful cookbooks sold in bookstores around the world. I am so pleased and proud to be part of a project such as this, to discover the incredibly diverse traditions in people’s kitchens and to unearth a cooking heritage that I had never taken the time to explore.

The MMCC that was…

Lynn Niselow

Lynn Niselow has a great passion for food, inspired by her mother and grandmother. She has enjoyed a diverse working life, ranging from fashion buyer through running a successful catering business to a community organisation executive. When this opportunity to be back in the food world arose in 2014, she grabbed it with both hands.  Lynn left MMCC to return full time to the workforce at the end of 2017.

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. Paula was a founding member of MMCC and stepped back in 2014.

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. Lauren was a founding member of MMCC and stepped back in 2014.

Not-For-Profit

Monday Morning Cooking Club is a not-for-profit group, and all profits from book sales go to charity. Click the button for a list of charities we have supported so far.
Not For Profit