Penny Davidi is a celebrity chef and the newest member of our editorial team. Her new channel is called Penny’s Pantry.
Here is her story:
I, Penny Davidi, am conquering the states with my Middle Eastern recipes for the past 10 years, on several Food Network and Bravo TV shows. I am also the co-founder of SpiceLab LLC., a Food and Beverage Incubator in Los Angeles. In 2013 I joined USFoods in Los Angeles, California as their Culinary Specialist and most recently, I joined Sysco Foods. In May 2014 I opened PUMP LOUNGE in West Hollywood with Real Housewives Star Lisa Vanderpump, as Executive Chef and Menu Curator and in 2018 we opened TOMTOM. With several shows in the works and multiple Food & Wine Festivals Internationally.
Born in Iran and raised in California, I am the first Persian Jewish Chef and Businesswoman to be featured on the Food Network. A mother of two grown girls and step mom to three, I grew up learning the art of cooking from the women in my family and used this knowledge as a launching pad to fuse creativity and personality to develop my own innovative recipes. Previously a COO at a management development firm, I sold my successful business, Pizza Rustica in Beverly Hills, in 2008, to focus on other projects. My expertise include but are not limited to menu development and redevelopment, business revitalization using my platform and social media, BOH organization and most of all sales and marketing. With extensive knowledge of the US market in what is trending in food and restaurant concepts. Innovative, strategic, driven and fierce is how I best describe myself… some may say a hard working mogul and visionary woman… Ill take it!
My family’s move to Los Angeles 1979. My father, a very well respected physician in Iran, my mother, a very well educated homemaker. Once in the United States, the roles had reversed, my father had to go back to school to be able to practice medicine, my mother had to work so we can keep a roof over our heads and yummy food always on the table. I, no more than 7 maybe 8 years old, was left at home with my grandmother, Sharifeh, that’s what we called her, by her first name, not grandma or nana or any cutesy name but her name. Oh how I loved and adored her. Whatever you asked of her she did, up at the crack of dawn browning onions, cleaning fresh herbs, blending the right seasonings to make the perfect ground beef kebab for Sunday family gatherings, making our breakfast and packing our lunch. You name it, she did it and she was quick with a ton of spunk and incredible energy and warmth.
I have spent the past 25 years on building an audience, even prior to getting into the culinary scene, as a licensed acupuncturist and a doctor of Oriental medicine. I started building my practice by treating some of the biggest names in Hollywood. I became known as the acupuncturist to the stars, I had a booming practice. I took into consideration more than just the patients symptoms, but their ailments and the root of their problems. I often, looked at the patient’s diet as a guide and I was able to make them feel better just through the use of different foods, especially herbs and spices. “What we eat is who we are,” is a reality and sometimes it’s OK to be a food junkie but something as simple as having watermelon when you’re running a high fever can reduce the fire in your body as we call it. By taking that knowledge and translating it into my culinary techniques, is just one way that I have been impactful in building an audience over the years. Deciding to open up Pizza Rustica, after selling my medical practice and building those relationships through my restaurants and from there further building a network of 50 million viewers on the Food Network, Bravo and other major cable networks. My audience, of course consists of the Middle Eastern community, who is so proud to see a representative of their cuisine on television but I will cross the borders to the rest of the world, to the people who are so fascinated by this food, by this region, by its culture, and by its beauty.