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Meet Trailblazer Nina Safar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nina Safar.

Nina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have always loved food and its ability to connect people. Family dinners are what kept my 10 siblings and I so close growing up! There is nothing like a good home cooked meal to bring people together and you don’t have to be a chef to cook a good meal. I created the first Kosher food blog, in 2008 to share simple easy recipes with home cooks. Keeping a Kosher diet allowed me to think creatively in the kitchen for swapping dairy out of recipes and baking mostly dairy free desserts since you can’t mix meat and dairy in a Kosher kitchen. I love creating new recipes knowing that someone else is going to cook them for their family and enjoy a meal with loved ones. In addition to creating new recipes for the blog, I work with clients developing food content for their products and I travel throughout the U.S. doing cooking demos. The most rewarding part of being a blogger is having these opportunities to connect with people through food. I love sharing childhood memories of baking with my mom and cooking for the holidays and hearing other peoples stories through cooking. We all have a story. Food just helps us tell it better.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Life is never smooth but that isn’t a bad thing. If you learn to embrace the journey rather than focus on one destination you open yourself up to possibilities you wouldn’t have necessarily planned for yourself. I grew up in Brooklyn and when I started the blog it was all about the food, I was too shy to put myself in front of the camera or host demos. Moving to California changed how interacted with my followers dramatically. Within my first month in Los Angeles, Perez Hilton reached out for me to film my famous holiday mashup latkes for I hesitated because I had never filmed before and wasn’t sure if it was something I would enjoy, However I decided to give it a try and liked it so much we filmed several more videos together and I realized that not only did I enjoy filming, I really loved connecting with people over food and started hosting cooking demos. Don’t be afraid to say yes to new opportunities, even if you think you will suck. (When I look back at that very first video of me filming I cringe because I clearly had no idea what I was doing!) The first time might not be great, but the next time could be awesome. (I have gotten much more comfortable in front of the camera but it would never have happened if not for that first time!) So, go for it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kosher in the Kitch – what should we know?
When I started my blog, it was simply to share easy delicious recipes with anyone who was interested in fast and tasty cooking. I had no idea it would grow and allow me to work with brands such as Macy’s, Manischewitz and Ralphs and be featured in newspapers like Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times as well as make appearances on KTLA, CBS and Ovation TV. By far, the most exciting part has been traveling and meeting people through the blog and our shared interest (or obsession!) with good food. When I receive photos of my recipes being cooked (and devoured!), there’s no better feeling. It’s amazing to think how the recipes I cook in my little kitchen in Los Angeles can reach followers worldwide in South Africa, Israel, Australia, Peru and the Philippines! I am excited to share my newest project,  Kosher in the KitchRush Hour Dinners! A collection of 24 super simple DELICIOUS dinner recipes.The cookbook is easel backed which allows it to stand on the counter for easy viewing while you cook. Pre Order is available now through the blog here.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Social media is fantastic for reaching out to brands and people you would like to collaborate with. Instagram is a personal favorite since it’s so easy to connect and let people know you enjoy their work and discuss collaborations. Never be afraid to reach out! Think of specific ways you would like to collaborate and be clear about what you can offer them as well. Don’t underestimate what you can bring to the table. Everyone has value. Once you find yours, you will have more confidence in approaching businesses and brands to work together.

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