Gala celebrates 50th anniversary of iconic cookbook

Norene Gilletz (left) and Zane Caplansky will be co-hosting Second Helpings...Encore!, a kosher epicurean gala event held by B’nai Brith Canada to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic cookbook, Second Helpings, Please!

B’nai Brith Canada recently acquired the copyright to the iconic cookbook, Second Helpings, Please! The acquisition coincides with the book’s 50th anniversary and B’nai Brith is celebrating with Second Helpings…Encore!, a kosher epicurean gala that will be held on Nov. 21 at Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, Ont.

The event is an interactive evening featuring eight Toronto-area chefs who will create an eight-course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings. Their recipes are inspired by Second Helpings and they will prepare them in an open kitchen, while participants watch.

Chefs include Anthony Rose of Fat Pasha and Rose and Sons, David Neinstein of Barque Smokehouse, Tomer Markovitz of Parallel, David Caban of Boku Noodle Bar and David Lee of Planta.

Newtalk 1010 food personality and chef Zane Caplansky will co-host the evening with cookbook author and food columnist Norene Gilletz, the original editor of Second Helpings.

“Getting high-profile chefs such as these, who are very respected in the Toronto culinary community, was no easy feat,” said Avi Behar, chair of the gala committee.

“Some of these chefs are very well-known in the Jewish community. Anthony Rose has several restaurants with food loosely based on his Jewish upbringing and Tomer Markovitz is head chef of the trendy new Israeli hummus spot, Parallel.”


Bahar explained that the cookbook was an “ambitious project” that was executed by the Montreal chapter of B’nai Brith Women.

He credits Gilletz with helping B’nai Brith obtain the book’s copyright. “During our preliminary discussions with Norene about doing an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Second Helpings, she found out that the rights to the book were available and she made the shidduch. It was clearly destined to come back to B’nai Brith,” he said.

Caplansky said he was happy to help out with the gala because “Norene is amazing and that book is so important. It was a part of my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up.”

He said he’s looking forward to meeting the other chefs. “They’re incredibly talented,” said Caplansky. “I think it will be a really exciting meal.”

There will be a screening of a video of him and Gilletz kibitzing in the kitchen as they give a soup-making lesson, he said. “Norene is great. She has so many tricks up her sleeve. She’s a straight shooter. I love that about her and she’s very funny,” he added.

For her part, Gilletz said she is thrilled that “the book will be available for future generations.”

Markovitz, the Israeli-born chef at Toronto’s Parallel restaurant, said that while he did not grow up with Second Helpings (he has only lived in Toronto for 10 months), he was happy to help out when B’nai Brith approached him because “it’s important to give back and help others.”

Neinstein said he was eager to participate in the gala because he values B’nai Brith’s work and has always found the book to be “very handy for cooking on Shabbos and yom tov.”

In fact, the orange duck recipe in Second Helpings inspired a similar dish he now serves at Barque. “When I was younger, I thought orange duck was very avant-garde because it tasted like an Asian dish,” said Neinstein.

He said that he’s really looking forward to meeting Gilletz because “she is cooking royalty in the Jewish food world.”


The gala will be held on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at Universal Eventspace, 6250 Highway 7, in Vaughan. Contact Arina Harris at 416-633-6224 ext. 109.