United Noshes is a series of 194 dinner parties, one for each member of the United Nations, in alphabetical order. We started in July 2011 in Brooklyn, squeezing friends and strangers alike into a 500-square-foot apartment, and in August 2014 moved to Portland, Oregon.
We strive to create as authentic a meal as our capacity and resources afford, carefully researching recipes and investing the necessary time in traditional preparation methods. We love it when someone who’s from, lived in, has family from, or otherwise familiar with a country helps us figure out what to make and how. It’s even better when they join us in the kitchen and at the table.
We feel so lucky to be able to eat for enjoyment and share food with our friends through our United Noshes dinners. We recognize that so many people around the world struggle to meet their daily needs, so we ask our guests to bring a donation in support of Mercy Corps, an international development and relief non-profit organization, which is then matched.
CHEF / WRITER
Jesse hails from Oakland, CA, where he learned to cook from his dad and bake from his mom. His parents ran the Friedmans Microwave Ovens store in San Francisco, his mom is a registered dietitian, and his grandfather was a melon and papaya farmer in Mexico, so food runs deep in the family.
At the University of Chicago, he studied linguistics, studied abroad in France and Switzerland, and got his start cooking for crowds as the food coordinator for a folk festival. He spent eleven years as a marketer at Google, across Google Maps, policy advocacy, and Google Translate; at the latter he was instrumental in producing a pop-up restaurant with star chefs cooking food from around the world.
He’s now a marketing and communications consultant, which is a fancy way of saying he can now easily work bread-baking into his weekday schedule.
HOST / PHOTOGRAPHER
Laura is a picky eater who grew up in Tacoma, WA by way of Vancouver, Canada.
She currently works as the Senior Producer of Live Wire Radio, a public radio variety show currently broadcasting on over 100 public radio stations across the country. She also collaborates with Tennessee Watson on Wage/Working, a jukebox-based oral history project in which stories from workers are edited to the length of time it takes them to earn a dollar... hence the jukebox in the dining room.
Previously, she spent three years producing media for The Moth in New York City, including the Peabody Award-winning radio show, and taught storytelling and media production through the Center for Digital Storytelling as well as at CUNY Hunter College.
When she was a kid, she wanted to be a country singer and/or dog. She now spends her free time hanging out with her rescue dogs, Emmylou & Reba, which is close enough.