Chef Louisa Shafia has been crossing culinary borders and bridging gastronomic gaps all her life. Shafia’s father, a Muslim from Iran, and her mother, an Askenazi Jew, raised a family around a very full dinner table laden with traditional Persian dishes right alongside the Jewish ones.
It’s a Wednesday in September. Brad Baker stands in front of Elat Market on Pico Boulevard, holding out his baseball cap. People exit the supermarket, pushing shopping carts and carrying bags with groceries. Some look at Baker. Some don’t. For Baker, this is just another day.
On any given weekday, Elat Market, the Pico-Robertson supermarket, is already a hub of hustle and bustle for the Persian community. So one can imagine the human traffic on the Friday morning before Yom Kippur - getting ready before Shabbat and yontiff. Standing outside the market on this busy morning, it becomes apparent that Elat is somewhat of a de facto community center, a nexus where friends - young and old - run into one another and splinter off into small congregations of conversation.