Inna's Dream: to connect through Jewish cuisine

Newton, MA - Meet Inna Khitrik (right) and her son Alex Khitrik (left).  Inna is a very special guest on feisworld podcast, for two reasons. 1) She's the first female guest on my show. 2) Inna is a restaurant owner, but not just any restaurant. She owns my personal favorite restaurant, Inna's Kitchen (19 Pelham St, Newton Centre, MA 02459).  A Jewish deli with the kind of food I can eat all day long. This special episode was recorded inside her kitchen.

If you can’t see the above, here are other ways to listen:

I grew up in a foodie family. Both of my parents are experts in their own cuisine. Dad was Cantonese (from Southern Part of China) and mom grew up in Beijing (a Mandarin cook). As a family, food was an everyday topic and my parents "competed" with one another on cooking. As an only child and to make sure I didn't break their hearts, they often tied for first place. Inna can relate to my story. Growing up, she recalls seeing dozens of friends over at her house for spontaneous feasts.

Inna grew up in Russia. She and her family traveled to various parts of the world (including Israel) before settling down in the United States in mid 1980's. She has worked at many restaurants, provided food for under-served neighborhoods, and has been mastering cooking since she was a little girl.

In this episode, Inna talks about starting her dream business - a kitchen with her name on it, a kitchen that specializes in homemade Jewish cuisine, everything from scratch, no cheating anywhere.

To name a few of my favorite dishes - shakshuka, potato latkas with fried eggs on top, sabih (egg and eggplant sandwich). If you are a fan of falafel, you are in luck and make sure to try Inna's falafel plate and beef kofta plate. Their most popular dish is, of course, the chicken matzo ball soup. Delicious!

Beyond the foodie talk, Inna opens her heart about the making of a restaurant. If you ever thought about running your own restaurant or coffee shop,  tune in on lessons learned, as well as success tips and tricks.<

Select Links, Callouts from the Episode:

Show Notes (Times Are Approximate):

  • Most popular dishes at Inna's Kitchen [5:00]
  • Cooking and catering during Jewish holidays [8:00]
  • Lessons learned in owning a restaurant business, or any business [10:00]
  • Inna's Kitchen on Facebook, Yelp - marketing strategy for the business and learning through data [12:00]
  • Tips and advice for people who want to run their own restaurant businesses [12:00]
  • Inna's cooking for her family at home [21:30]
  • Family-style cooking class at Inna's home & how to organize workshops [26:15]
  • What would Inna say to her 20-year old self? [31:10]
  • Inna's mentor and the tipping point for her to open Inna's Kitchen [34:00]
  • Food as a basic human need and how it connects people [41:00]