The DJN learns about world-traveled chef Julia Comisar’s life and professional career. Plus, she kindly shares her go-to matzo ball soup recipe for Rosh Hashanah!
Photos courtesy of Julia Comisar
1. What are your go-to recipes for Rosh Hashanah?
I have a great matzoball soup and a roast. Everybody loves my matzoball soup, I do it with fresh chicken and I always have to bring the food when we celebrate on the holidays like Rosh Hashanah.
2. How many places have you traveled to boost your culinary knowledge?
I’m from Germany, so I worked in Germany first. Then I went to Dubai, then the Canary Islands off of Spain, Florida for a cruise line and now Michigan, because my husband, David, is originally from Detroit. I met him in Florida, so we moved here when he came to work here.
3. What was it like to cook in Dubai for prominent figures like the princess?
It was very stressful, but it was a great experience. It was over 10 years ago — I was much younger and didn’t have a lot of experience. It really shaped me because I’ve never worked in a place like that. It was the second largest resort in the world, and I was a part of the opening team with another chef from Germany to open the first vegetarian restaurant, and the princess was vegetarian.
4. How did growing up in a family with professional chefs shape your childhood?
My parents weren’t chefs — they owned an art gallery, but my relatives were chefs. I think cooking comes natural to me. I’ve been cooking since I was little. My husband always says he can’t believe how quickly I can whip up some dishes. It just comes naturally to me. That’s my genes — most of the time I don’t even use recipes. I look at some recipes and get inspired but I don’t follow them exactly. Most of the time I just do it naturally.
5. How would you describe your cooking style?
I would call my style classic with a modern twist. I keep the ingredients natural and I don’t over-season my dishes. My customers love my food and I think that’s because you can taste everything. I don’t put a lot of spices in there as well. Most of my clients want organic, so almost 100% of my ingredients are organic, fresh and local. I’ll go to the Royal Oak Farmers market or order from local produce places.
6. What type of cooking services do you offer?
Mostly I do dinner parties and meal prep, or I go to families and I cook for them. I also do cooking classes as well.
Chef Julia’s Matzo Ball Soup Recipe
Ingredients (for the soup):
- 1 whole pure pastured chicken or cut up chicken pieces with skin-on
- 6 medium carrots peeled and cut in half
- 6 celery stalks cut in thirds
- 2 large onions peeled and cut in half
- 1 bunch dill washed
- 1 bunch parsley washed
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- Kosher Salt
For the matzo balls:
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons melted shmaltz or vegetable oil chicken fat
- Wash out your chicken and place it in the stockpot and cover it completely with COLD water.
- Add all ingredients to the pot with chicken, cover it and let it simmer on medium heat for about 2 hours
- Combine all the ingredients for your matzo balls in a large bowl.
- Mix it all up with a spoon until it’s nice smooth. Place this mixture into the fridge for 20 minutes. And get a pot of water with salt on the stove. Bring up to boil.
- I like to use a little ice cream scooper to scoop them into my hand and then roll the balls out.
- Then place them on a plate.
- Now for me, the secret to fluffy matzo balls also has a lot to do with how long you cook them. If you want a dense and heavy matzo ball, cook it for 25 minutes. If you are going for airy and light floaters, you are going to want to boil them for 35-40 minutes.
- Drop them into the simmering pot of water carefully, one by one.
- Turn it down to a simmer. Cover it. And let them cook for 35-40 minutes. Once they are finished, you can serve them immediately with the soup or you can cool them completely then place them in another container in the refrigerator.
- Now back to our chicken soup. Taste it. Make sure it’s as sweet as you want it and add salt if needed.
- Remove the chicken meat off the bones
- If you want to skim the fat off some, the easiest way is to place it in the fridge and let the fat solidify over night. Then you can go ahead and just remove the fat solids.
Serve the soup with a matzo ball or two, some of the veggies, some meat on the side and a nice sprinkling of parsley!
Julia Comisar was born and raised in Germany. She was literally raised in an art gallery owned by her parents. Surrounded by professional chefs in her family, she learned to blend her two passions—cooking and art—at a very young age. Julia has cooked around the world. In her native Germany, she worked for the elite before relocating to Dubai. While there, she had the pleasure of cooking for Hollywood celebrities as well as royalty—including the Princess of Dubai. Wanting to explore the United States, Julia moved to South Florida, where she worked in one of the finest country clubs in the country—Frenchman’s Creek—and on a cruise liner. With her husband’s relocation to Michigan, Chef Julia now offers her private chef services to clients in the Detroit metro area. Her husband had the first Bar Mitzvah in Temple Israel on Walnut St. in 1980, and participates in the friendship circle walk.
Visit Julia’s website at privatechefjulia.com