Our Recipe for Unity

Stirring Us To Be Our Best Selves

Central to Our Recipe for Unity℠'s focus on creating human connections around food is the idea of a Unifier (see Becoming a Unifier): someone or something that brings others together. These might also be understood as leaders, or “difference makers.”

Some leverage the universal language of food, or create connections by sharing their own culture through its cuisine. Other, more mainstream Unifiers amplify the importance of finding and emphasizing our similarities over our differences, striving for acceptance and harmony over divisiveness.

Scroll down to sample our inspiring collection of videos, books, quotes -- and Unifiers. (And, please, feel free to comment and suggest additions!)

Articles & Magazines

The New York Times review of Eli Saslow’s book on the redemption story of Derek Black, former white nationalist and son of one of the movement’s key leaders in the US. (Sep 10, 2018)

Jewish Telegraphic Agency spotlights the documentary film hosted by Israeli-American chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov: a portrait of the Israeli people through food. (Mar 20, 2017)

The Dallas Theological Seminary Voice (Oct 26, 2015) writes that “Sharing tables with other people reminds us that there’s more to food than fuel. We don’t eat only for sustenance.”

The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston. (Yes! Magazine Jun 24, 2015)

The Independent discusses the universal language of sharing a meal within the context of Conflict Kitchen, London’s rooftop supperclub to mark International Day of Peace (Sept 2014).

This national nonprofit media organization reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions: “journalism for people building a better world.”

by Sandra Lazo de la Vega and Timothy J. Steigenga © 2013, University of Wisconsin Press

The story of how people rose up from various corners of the community of Jupiter, FL to collaborate on an immigrant integration solution.

“You Better Leave, Cristina” is a documentary series featuring Cristina Martinez, her extraordinary success as a chef and restaurant owner in the US but also the personal story including the challenges of emigration, of leaving her children, of being an undocumented immigrant. (This YouTube recording has English subtitles. It’s also available in Spanish on Univision, Facebook, ITunes, and other podcast platforms.)

Practical tips for fighting a culture of savagery—by David Brooks, The New York Times opinion columnist and author of The Road to Character.

The United Church of Christ’s paper on becoming an immigrant welcoming congregation, complete with suggested topics and formats for study and reflection sessions.

Chefs & Foodies
José Andrés
This Spanish-American chef has multiple wildly successful restaurants, stoking the popularity of avant-garde Spanish food, but is as widely known for his charitable work, providing meals for victims, hurricane after hurricane, and working towards more sustainable solutions to ending food insecurity and malnutrition with a nonprofit called World Central Kitchen. He has also repeatedly made the case for immigration reform.
Anthony Bourdain
The pinnacle of difference-makers for ORFU’s founder was Anthony Bourdain. His emphasis on people and food, through food, is perfectly aligned with Our Recipe for Unity’s mission. Click through to our Bourdain tribute page, which includes a selection of his best quotes and other related links and resources.
Jason Kwon
An immigrant from Vietnam, Chef Kwon has been involved in various successful restaurants on both coasts of the U.S. and in multiple charitable endeavors: sending a portion of his profits to support orphanages in Cambodia, and hiring formerly homeless people to learn new skills and work in his bistros.
Cristina Martinez
This undocumented Mexican chef has become an American success story. Upon arrival in Philadelphia, she worked her way up in the restaurant business and, after being fired for being undocumented, began selling tacos from her apartment, then a street cart. Once she got a brick-and-mortar location, she relatively quickly earned national attention when Barbacoa was named #6 on the Bon Appétit list of America’s Best New Restaurants in 2016. With her husband and restaurant co-owner Ben Miller, she advocates for immigrant rights and reform, especially giving a voice to undocumented restaurant workers.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi are chefs, restaurateurs and cookbook authors who grew up in the Jewish west and Arab east of Jerusalem, respectively. Their cookbook Jerusalem: A Cookbook features recipes inspired by the city, with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian influences. Ottolenghi has also supported peaceful, philanthropic causes in London.
Michael Solomonov
Israeli-American chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov is a James Beard Award winner and the perfect guide for the fascinating 2016 documentary film In Search of Israeli Cuisine (video trailer), exploring 100+ diverse cultures (among them Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze) of Israel through food.
Christina Tosi
The chef and owner/founder of Momofuku Milk Bar works with the charity Hot Bread Kitchen in NYC to help create food industry jobs for immigrants by providing connections and training. Hot Bread Kitchen also sells ethnically-influenced bread—Persian flatbreads, challah, tortillas—to help fund the program.
Ming Tsai
Chef/owner of the famous Massachusetts restaurant Blue Ginger, among others, and host of the public TV cooking show Simply Ming, Tsai has devoted much energy over the past decade to a charity called Family Reach, which he says has shown him a hidden financial crisis that no one talks about: “the financial toxicity of cancer.” To date, he has raised more than 6 million dollars for Family Reach through various events including the annual Cooking Live!, featuring celebrity chefs preparing a multi-course meal live in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom with the help of young cancer patients playing sous-chef for a night while sharing their inspiring stories.
Politicians & Government Leaders
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Let’s talk about a great example of civility: the unlikely friendship between “RBG” and her politically opposite counterpart on the bench, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Food was an essential ingredient in their relationship. As Judge Ginsburg wrote in the forward of the new cookbook Table for 9: Super Court Food Traditions & Recipes (Clare Cushman, The Supreme Court Historical Society © 2017), “Food in good company has sustained Supreme Court justices through the ages.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker
In an interview with On Being, on Civic Spiritual Evolution, Booker says: “This is a time where our country needs a more courageous love, needs a more daring empathy. This is really a moment where we’re gonna define our culture, I think, in the next generation, and that word, ‘sacred,’ to me, is what is needed now, this understanding that these are sacred spaces between us, and they need to be fueled and injected with an unapologetic, courageous, daring love.”
Michelle Obama
In 2009, with the help of 23 fifth graders from a nearby school, America’s 44th First Lady broke ground on the largest vegetable garden ever on the White House lawn in an effort to promote healthy eating. She later published American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. While in the White House, she and President Obama volunteered at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. She also established a Let’s Move fitness program, leadership and mentoring programs for girls and women, and a girl-focused education charity. And of course, as she eloquently addressed the 2016 Democratic Convention, she made famous the admonition, “When they go low, we go high.”
TX Representatives Beto O’Rourke & Will Hurd
And more civility -- between two congressmen in Texas. Some time ago, these two rising stars of rival parties found themselves stranded in San Antonio by a blizzard back in Washington DC. They decided to rent a car and drive, bonding over the 1,600-mile road trip and sharing hours of conversation over Facebook Live about their views on some of the nation’s most divisive issues. Subsequently, they were awarded the 2018 Prize for Civility in Public Life, presented annually since 2012 by Allegheny College to “honor two public figures, one liberal and one conservative, who argue passionately but with civility for their beliefs."
Faith Leaders
Reverend Barber is a pastor, a speaker, a professor, an author, and a political organizer and commentator. Among his most noteworthy recent speeches and political actions were his address at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and the Forward Together Moral Movement that he built to call people to protest and implore North Carolina’s elected officials to embrace a moral public policy agenda. He has served as president of the North Carolina NAACP and sits on the NAACP’s national board.
Also known as the award-winning hip hop artist J.Kwest, Rev. DeShazier is also a pastor, professor, actor and speaker. He is a public health advocate in Chicago, where his University Church creates “a safe space for believers, seekers, and doubters” and fights for justice. See his post on Pushing Boundaries in a Culture of Outrage on HuffPost.
Dr. Robyn is a PhD, queer activist, Latinx scholar, and public theologian who speaks and writes on the topic of bridging differences between faith communities, justice movements, and academia. Dr. Robyn’s pastoral response to the Charlottesville protests called “for a diverse and multigenerational movement to combat white supermacy” (American Progress Feb 8, 2018).
Rev. Jeania Ree V. Moore
“A UMC deacon who is ensconced in the world of faith-based advocacy and organizing,” Rev. Moore serves The United Methodist Church’s social justice agency in Washington, DC as director for civil and human rights, working on immigration, gun violence protection, and criminal justice reform.
Bishop Seitz, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Paso, TX, is a major DACA supporter and advocate for immigrant rights, including the protection of undocumented immigrants from unjust and inhumane family separation and deportation policies. He has spoken to Congress, marched, and preached on these topics. “In my ministry as a bishop on the border, I have seen how the aspirations and hard work of Dreamers have renewed everyone’s faith in the American dream.” (El Paso Times, Mar 7, 2018)
Dr. Singh is an educator, writer and activist. He studies race and religion and their impacts on Islamophobia, xenophobia, and hate crimes, and works to create understanding around communities of color and to promote civil rights, diversity, and religious tolerance. He represents Sikhs on NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Interfaith Advisory Council.
Rabbi Dr. Andrea L. Weiss
Rabbi Dr. Weiss is a faith leader in the social justice movement, an author and an associate professor. Following the 2016 elections, she launched a campaign to enlist 100 religious scholars to write letters expressing “guidance, inspiration and reaffirmation of what it means to be an American.’ You can read some of the wisdom gathered through that campaign here: @ValuesandVoices on Twitter and @ValuesandVoices on Facebook.
Celebrities & Pop Culture Icons
Jon Bon Jovi
In late 2011, Jon Bon Jovi opened an eatery with a mission: a community restaurant where “dignity and respect are always on the menu” and patrons pay what they can. Donations and dishwashing help keep food on the table at JBJ Soul Kitchen, in Red Bank, NJ, near Bon Jovi’s hometown.
Aretha Franklin
At her funeral, Barack and Michelle Obama said, “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.” (Rolling Stone Aug 16, 2018)
Meghan Markle
This longtime foodie, actress and now Duchess of Sussex as Prince Harry’s wife chose as her first official royal project a charity cookbook, Together: Our Community Cookbook, with and for the victims of the tragic Grenfell apartment building fire back in 2017. The Royal tweet about the project said the cookbook “celebrates the power of cooking to bring communities together. #CookTogether” Says Meghan: “Together is a cookbook but it’s also the story of a West London community who gathered together in a kitchen and discovered the healing power of food.”
Also, see our Twitter account and other social media pages for a taste of the influences we like to indulge in regularly for ideas and inspiration. (And, please, feel free to comment and add your own suggestions!)

Maya Angelou reads her poem "A Brave and Startling Truth," which she wrote in commemoration of the UN's 50th Anniversary, in 1995. (YouTube video published May 28, 2014)

What if we could only see each other behind a giant x-ray screen?! (YouTube video published Mar 3, 2015 by the Ad Council)

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor talk about how the Justices of the nation’s highest court have always found time to break bread together. (YouTube video published Jun 23, 2016)

Vocal activist Melanie DeMore wrote this song the day after the 2016 US presidential election. She performs it live but here it is with her looking right at you via the camera. (YouTube video published Jan 10, 2017)

Provincetown multi-instrumentalist expresses in song, If only more people tried on other people’s shoes! (YouTube video published Jul 28, 2017)

In celebration of Pride Month (YouTube video published Jul 4, 2016 by the Ad Council)

Vocal activist Melanie Demore interacts with participants in the Children's Music Network's International conference (YouTube video published Apr 1, 2014)

This video explains and explores systemic racism in the United States through the use of animation, history, and statistics. (Facebook video published July 2019)

Seal's song "Get it Together" emphasizes the value of trust, nonjudgment, progress, and nonviolence. (YouTube video published Oct 29, 2009)

This TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie "tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding." (Published July 2009)

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