The Latke Festival started as just an idea, when founder Liz Neumark wanted a different way to celebrate the holiday season. “Everything about Christmas is so saturated in our culture,” Neumark said. So she thought of celebrating the lowly potato, in the Hanukkah tradition of making potato latkes, or fried potato pancakes. 

Neumark is the founder of The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching youth about nutrition and healthy eating. Each year, about 3,000 young children who live in public housing across the five boroughs participate in the center’s after-school programs. They learn how to prepare healthy meals themselves, from grocery shopping to cooking skills.

The center also has a farm in upstate New York where children learn how to grow organic produce. “We’re growing a generation of healthy eaters through cooking,” Neumark said. Proceeds from the Latke Festival benefit the center (tickets $70 per person).

What started out as an event with half a dozen participating restaurants has now become a full-scale festival. Chefs around the city will be making their own latke creations. Among Neumark’s favorite latkes are those combining flavors of the East and West.

She’s excited to hold the holiday festival—now in its eighth year—at the Brooklyn Museum. This is the first time the festival’s been held at a cultural institution. “The art of food, the art of celebration—we love that connection,” she said.

Monday, Dec. 19
6 p.m.–9 p.m.
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway (at Washington Avenue), Brooklyn
LatkeFestival.com