Jack’s Wife Freda x Warm
Photography by Sarah Elliott
The four “F”s — family, friends, food, and fashion. I talked a lot about these defining areas in our lives as I cooked with Maya Jankelowitz of N.Y.C.-based Mediterranean bistro Jack’s Wife Freda and Winnie Beattie of boutique and brand Warm. We got together in Winnie’s beautifully ecclectic home to celebrate the launch of Maya’s cookbook for Jack’s Wife Freda, a book I’m thrilled about, as it reveals the beloved café’s most popular recipes and its history. As the three of us chopped, tossed and composed three of our favorite JWF dishes, we shared many “me too” moments, as Maya puts it.
Meaning the, “Oh shit, I forgot to register my child for baseball.”
Or the, “Life is so hectic that I barely see my friends anymore.”
Or how about, “I really did plan to cook dinner at home at least once this week.”
Or, “Oh me, oh my, I just need to order those swoony new Prada shoes.”
But really, the biggest “me too” was in revealing that we all really do not know how we manage the mayhem of life – the “I feel like a fraud at times,” the “oh goodness, I am just making it up as I go,” or the, “I feel like in trying to balance the family, work, self-care trifecta, I seem to always be failing at one of them.” ME TOO! But you know what, each of us just do it. We keep on striding ahead, putting one foot in front of the other and doing our absolute best, day by day.
The takeaway here is that we need to share. And while this day came together to celebrate the JWF cookbook, what became clear is that we all crave connectivity, community and the reminder that we are a part of a great pack of women who voice our truths, our insecurities, and our successes. We are certainly not alone in however we feel on any given day.
I love these two women insane amounts, (as they love each other – they met during Maya’s days working as a maître d’ at Balthazar!). I am constantly inspired by them. I met Maya by being a cult follower – JWF has locations in both the West Village and SoHo, and the latter locale is my go-to breakfast and lunch spot. The food at JWF is the type of food I want to eat every day – super flavorful, Mediterranean with a Middle Eastern flair, slightly unexpected in its flavor profiles, and always consistently delish. It’s a family-owned biz, owned by Maya and her husband Dean. And the atmosphere, without doubt in part due to Maya and Dean’s warmth, makes you feel as those you are part of a greater community, even within the hustle and bustle. It is distinct, familial, and very much downtown N.Y.C.
Winnie is one of my nearest and dearest friends, my Amagansett neighbor, and our boys have the exact same interests — skating, snowboarding, and surfing. We also have a shared love of travel and often vacation together, often to somewhere warm. Indeed, “warm” has become Winnie and Rob’s mantra and is the namesake for their store and clothing line. Winnie is straight-up one of the smartest, most soulful, compassionate, giving, and creative women I know. She seems to have found some hidden hours in the day that only she has unlocked. Three boys, three careers. One, she is a beauty PR powerhouse, two, she is the creator of Warm, the quintessential downtown cool girl’s boutique for everything from fashion to jewelry to art books to bikinis to tabletop. And three, in the past few years she has expanded her empire to include a celebrated fashion collection in collaboration with Tracy Feith. Winnie and I are both wearing looks from the collection.
Maya, Winnie and I carved out two hours to be together, reflect, allow our guards to drop and share and receive so many “me too”s. In doing so we all quietly knew we need each other in order to know ourselves. Maya shared this oh-so-wise statement: “We find ourselves wearing so many different hats and juggling so many aspects in our lives that I learnt that the truth is that there is no separation. Work life, social life, home life. There is only one life. And being surrounded with like-minded people you can just always be who you are, not just one of your roles…We are all in a similar boat and that is a source of strength that keeps me going in life, as we are all just trying to figure it out.” Amen, ladies.