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Born in Iran and raised in California, Penny is the first Persian Jewish Chef and Business woman to be featured on hit culinary and reality television shows. Featuring her Middle Eastern recipes on hit foodie television shows like Food Network Star and Chopped All Stars, she defeated her three fellow contestants landed a spot as a regular in several other Food Network shows. Her more recent credits include, but are not limited to multiple appearances on hit shows like Cutthroat Kitchen, Kitchen Inferno and Guys Grocery Games All Stars. Penny opened up Pump Lounge in West Hollywood with Lisa Vanderpump, as Executive Chef and Menu Curator. She continued her collaboration with Lisa in opening up theTom Tom Bar and Lounge. Raised with a strong family bond, some of Penny’s most cherished memories are from time with the women of her family in the kitchen where her love of cooking began. Trade and family secrets were learned and Penny soon learned how to fuse her knowledge and creativity alongside her big personality to develop innovative and dynamic recipes that we now get to witness on her shows and soon to be released lifestyle cookbook. Penny is a loving wife and mother to two daughters and they reside in Los Angeles, California. Look out for her new projects, “Penny Eats” and “Pivot LA” covering her favorite food finds and how restaurants managed to PIVOT during Covid. Follow Penny at instagram.com/pennydavidi

Penny Davidi’s Pesach Roasted Chicken

yields 4-6 servings

So here is the ultimate impress the family with a Passover dinner dish. I remember the smell of roasted garlic and saffron permeating throughout the house. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy all over. Sweet, but the ’80s are long gone and this is not my mama’s chicken recipe (ok maybe it is but she didn’t dress it up like this) How do you dress up roasted chicken? By juicing it up, a little pineapple juice, stuffed with orange and surrounded with dried fruits, that’s how you make it mysterious.


1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken or 2 (3 pounders)

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon saffron powder diluted in a 1/2 cup of hot water and 1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder

2 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs

1 lemon, halved

1 orange, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

1 cup dried apricots

1 cup dried prunes

1 cup dried peaches

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced

4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks

1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges

olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the insides and rinse inside and out of chicken.

Remove any excess fat and leftover feathers.

In a bowl mix paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.

Massage the dry rub all over the inside and outside of chicken.

Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.

Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and orange and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan.

Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil.

Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Place all the dried fruit around the pan and pour in the pineapple juice and top the chicken with the hot saffron broth.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the fruits and vegetables.

Penny Davidi’s Cheesy Grits

yields 1/2 cup, 6-8 servings

“Throw in a little Southern charm and a side of grits (yes grits!!, breathe, its really simple to make, after all I am sure you are as bright as the folks cooking it up at L.A.’s Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, didn’t think I knew about that place did ya?”

Editor’s note: we know serving cheesy grits and chicken is not kosher. While we know a number of our readers are kosher we also know that some are not.  We will try to showcase recipes that our kosher, and when we don’t we expect our readers to understand the spirit of the recipes given as a celebration of their families and unique traditions.


2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces sharp irish cheddar, shredded (freshly)


Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking.

Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover.

Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps, make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy and gooey.
Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine.

Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time. serve immediately. 

Obviously, the chicken recipe with the cheesy grits is not kosher, and depending on your observance or tradition, corn may not be accepted.


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