Jonathan Cosgrove looks at how cuisine unites the Middle East


Jonathan Cosgrove ’21 interviews Israeli Chef Addena Sussman. Credit: Jonathan Cosgrove, used with permission.

Ryan Razmjoo

As a recipient of the Junior Summer Fellowship, Jonathan Cosgrove ’21 opened dialogue between chefs from Israel, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates through his podcast “Chef to Chef.” Cosgrove said he hopes his project will allow him and others to learn more about how food brings people from different nations together.

Cosgrove explained what he learned about through his interviews and research.

“I will be looking at the way people come together and put aside political differences through cooking and food in the Middle East,” Cosgrove said. “Both Israeli and Palestinian chefs told me that having a coffee is a good way to start a conversation and get to know each other.”

Cosgrove said he hoped to travel to Israel this past summer to work in a restaurant and conduct interviews with several different chefs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic limited his ability to travel and execute the plan he had originally envisioned.

At the beginning of the year, Cosgrove began the application process as one of around 50 applicants. Cosgrove participated in several interviews with the selection committee before ultimately receiving the grant.

When applying for his fellowship , Cosgrove said he was originally inspired by history teacher Dror Yaron, who explained to him how food has served as a foundation for dialogue between people in the Middle East for centuries.

Cosgrove’s final product will be a series of 15-minute podcasts which will recap his findings and contain interviews with various Middle Eastern chefs.

“I have been interviewing the chefs, and the podcast has been a cool way to share this,” Cosgrove said.