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Jonah Reider: Campus Celebrity (Chef)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

This week, start getting in the Thanksgiving mood with Jonah Reider. You may know him from his restaurant, Pith. 


Name: Jonah Reider

School: Columbia College

Year: 2016

Major: Social and Political Economics


Have you always loved cooking?

I have always enjoyed cooking, but more basically I have forever loved to combine simple things into surprising and fun combinations. I loved to play with Legos when I was a kid and then became passionate about jazz piano and improvising with other people. Cooking, to me, is a natural manifestation of this fundamental urge to improvise, create, and consume.


Do you have a favorite dish that you love to make?

I don’t have a favorite dish. I always enjoy learning new cooking techniques and methods, as well as reading recipes from chefs and restaurants I admire, but when it’s time to actually make food I try to improvise using my spice cabinet and the things I’ve recently picked out from the market.


Are you excited for Thanksgiving?

I love Thanksgiving mostly because it happens at a beautiful time of year. I’ll be in Western Massachusetts with my family, rolling up some fatties and playing music together. Food is a central part of this fall family experience — there’s such a bounty of fresh New England-y foods! My favorite Thanksgiving food is probably this delicious homemade applesauce from the orchard next door, or maybe my grandma’s classic turkey. Sometimes we have this delicious salad of bitter greens, fresh herbs, and pomegranate seeds…so good.


Any tips for those of us who are cooking during the holidays?

It’s about the people! Food should serve as the backdrop for fulfilling social experiences. So make things that are fun to create and consume with people — I think my family this year is going to try deep frying a few ducks, and we always enjoy eating pickled and fermented autumn vegetables.


What’s an easy meal anyone can make in their dorm kitchen?

My tip would be not to think about dishes anyone can make. Understand that with a nice cast iron pan, olive oil, and salt (maybe a head of garlic or lemon juice), you can make anything from the farmers market taste amazing. You just need to practice technique.


What restaurant are you loving right now?

My current favorite restaurant is Prune in the east village, run by Gabrielle Hamilton.


PS! Read his article in the New Yorker!


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Lily Morris

Columbia Barnard

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Sarah Fels

Columbia Barnard