Chef Penny Davidi is the first Middle Eastern star to ever appear on the Food Network. Though she was not formally trained at culinary school, she learned how to cook in the classic Persian fashion- through watching her mother and grandmother at the stove pour their love and labor into every bite. Since appearing on television, Chef Penny has started two restaurants with Lisa Vanderpump, star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and recently published her own cookbook after years of deliberation and writing.
Chef Penny says that her schedule was “on fire” while she was both on Chopped and creating the restaurant Pump Lounge with Vanderpump. After their first restaurant Pump Lounge together was a smash hit in 2014, the chef and Housewife partnered again in 2018 to open TomTom, both located in the heart of Los Angeles. Chef Penny’s role as the Menu Curator leaves her room to “Pennyifi” menu items with a taste of her Persian roots in every bite (turmeric, saffron, lebne, sumac, and more).
Now, as the self-published author of It’s My Thyme, her own Middle Eastern cookbook, Chef Penny reflects on why she chose the recipes presented in the book. She said writing the recipes down that she had grown up with was a form of therapy for her, helping her process the loss of her sister. Chef Penny had actually been thinking about writing the book for over seven years, and it was her sister’s voice in her head telling the chef to get it done. Her book is full of recipes that brought her family close together, and she wants everyone who cooks her recipes to bring their family together through food too.