Author & Chef

Jay Reifel

I have a background in fine dining and classical pastry, as well as a deep love of history, especially as it relates to food and culture. I have baked bread with schizophrenics, and written everything from one-liners to questionable science fiction.

In my culinary career, I trained at 1 and 2 Michelin-starred restaurants, including the legendary WD-50, presented dinners for the James Beard House, and have competed on such shows as CHOPPED and Beat Bobby Flay.

As the Executive Chef of Edible History, I have worked with food scientists, historians, and translators, and have eaten everything from pig’s brains to live insects. I have learned from all of them (and think you should too).

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2000 Years • 100 Recipes

A History of the World in 10 Dinners

Jay Reifel & Victoria Flexner
Forward by Jessica B. Harris

Rizzoli books New York

This scrupulously researched and accessible cookbook presents one-of-a-kind dinner parties inspired by seminal moments in culinary history.

In ten chapters—each an important moment in food history—the authors pair menus with immersive retellings of historic culinary breakthroughs, and present the ingredients and modern techniques adapted for today’s kitchens to allow cooks of all abilities to entertain with dishes that were created and enjoyed hundreds of years ago but remain relevant to today’s food tastes and values.

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History of the World in 10 Dinners cookbook

Chapters

Chapter One

Ancient Rome, First Century

Chapter Two

Baghdad, Eighth to Tenth Centuries

Chapter Three

The Silk Road, Thirteenth to Sixteenth Centuries

Chapter Four

Renaissance Italy, Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries

Chapter Five

Tudor England, Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries

Chapter Six

Al-Andalus, Eighth to Fifteenth Centuries

Chapter Seven

The Great Circulation, Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries

Chapter Eight

Ethiopia, Thirteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

Chapter Nine

Versailles, Seventeenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Chapter Ten

New York City, Nineteenth Century

Baghdad

This stuffed fish—roasted, braised, and fried—is emblematic of 10th-century Baghdad’s extraordinary sophistication in science, philosophy, and culture.

Tudor England

A favorite dish of Henry VIII, this Cockenthrice represents a mythical creature and demonstrated wealth and power of those able to dine upon it.

Versailles

This elaborate squab and veal pie could be garnished with everything from asparagus and whole truffles to “tidbits” like sweetbreads and cockscombs.

All food images © 2023 Lucy Schaeffer Photography, Inc.

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From the simple to the head-spinningly complex, all of the recipes beckon the reader to examine and explore, try and taste. The work is sure to incite many a dinner table discussion and to fill and satisfy hearts, minds, and stomachs.

– Jessica B. Harris –

Latest Events

Signings with Jay & Victoria!

Jan 16, 7:00 PM

A History of the World in 10 Dinners at the New Canaan Library • 151 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840

Join Chef Jay Reifel and food historian Victoria Flexner, the duo behind Edible History, for a conversation about their recently published book, A History of the World in Ten Dinners. 

Reifel and Flexner will dive into their research process – how they selected each time period focused on and how the recipes were sourced. They will also explore the major themes covered in their cookbook that spans 2,000 years of history from across the globe – everything from international trade in the Medieval period, to the fall of empires, the rise of different monarchies and religions, as well as the birth of the restaurant and the invention of French haute cuisine.

Nov 28, 7:00 PM

Platform by The James Beard Foundation • 25 11th Avenue, New York

Join us for French Haute Cuisine: An Elaborate Historical Meal Set in Louis XIV Versailles, an elaborate feast set in Louis’ XIV’s Versailles, inspired by A History of The World in Ten Dinners. Guests will enjoy a five-course feast of dishes straight from the pages of La Varenne’s seminal 1651 French cookbook, Le Cuisinier François, which ushered in a new era of French cuisine.

Now Booking for 2024

Request a private historical dinner party, workshop event, or speaking engagement with Chef Jay Reifel.

Our custom menus are drawn from our cookbook and beyond. We accommodate events as intimate as in-home dinners or as grand as 400-person galas. Queries can be sent by email to jay@jayreifel.com.

Paid event packages can include a free signed copy of A History of the World in Ten Dinners for all ticket holders.

James Beard Foundation chef

Latest Press

[Podcast] Culinary Historians of Chicago

[Podcast] Culinary Historians of Chicago

Podcast Interview: Culinary Historians of Chicago A History of the World in Ten Dinners Dec. 11, 2023Come join us as the authors share highlights from their work and give us a world of culinary traditions and unfamiliar ingredients through dishes that make up 10...

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