Meet Yael Raviv

Yael Raviv

Director of Business Development at Splacer, Williamsburg

Born in Israel, Yael moved to Manhattan in 1994 and to Williamsburg in 2011. She has a BA in theater from Tel Aviv University and an MA and PhD in Performance Studies from the NYU Tisch School of Arts. In between, she studied at the Restaurant School in Philadelphia for a year but decided she is too lazy to become a chef.  Yael taught as an adjunct professor at NYU's Nutrition and Food Studies Department courses on food and culture and food and art (1999-2015) and published articles on these subjects in magazines such as GastronomicaHer book, Falafel Nation, was published in 2015. Yael is the founder and director of the non-profit Umami Food and Art festival (2008-2015). She joined Kinetic Art, a recipe-app startup as VP of Content and Partnerships in 2011 and is currently Director of Business Development at Splacer. She's also the mother of Maya and Leann, who amaze and inspire her daily.



STREETSTYLE DETAILS: Trench, Anthropologie ; Jeans, 7 For All MankindBag, Sticks And Stones ; Shoes, Rag & Bone 



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I love Borges, Lahiri, and Gaiman, but only Salinger’s book has a special story. I met my husband while we were both traveling in Nepal. We ran into each other in a coffee shop in Katmandu and found out that we both just finished reading J D Salinger books, so we swapped. I got Nine Stories, he got Franny and Zooey.
I wake up at 6AM and get the girls up, they have a long commute to their high school. I make lunches — the biggest challenge is to be creative and come up with new ideas first thing in the morning. After they leave the house I have a couple of hours before work to clean up or go to the gym or just catch up on emails and news with my coffee.
Pants, Anthropologie

Pants, Anthropologie

My background is in theater really - I worked as stage manager and assistant director before I came to the US for graduate school. I had a year off while applying to programs here, so I went to culinary school never thinking to pursue it professionally. I ended up going to NYU’s Performance Studies Department and eventually started a family and went on to do a PhD there rather than going back to theater production. I chose to write on Food as a way to “perform” national identity in Israel. At NYU, I taught courses on food and performance and food and culture, and when the girls grew up a bit I wanted to get back to production work.
Shark Necklace, Verameat ; Radio, Tivoli

Shark Necklace, Verameat ; Radio, Tivoli

Food allows you to give voice to groups that are typically underrepresented like women or different ethnic groups, and to approach some complicated issues around politics or identity through a very concrete, tangible lens. People tend to think of food as an instrument of unification: we’ll just get everyone around the table and all will be well, but in fact it can be divisive, a way to distinguish between “us” and “them,” as in “we eat pork and they don’t”. I think a better way to think of the power of food to do good is in the opportunity it offers to learn, as a window into another culture, and as a sign of respect and trust, because what can be more indicative of trust than taking something into your body?
Falafel Nation is based on my PhD dissertation from 2002 and came out last year. I came to NY wanting to learn about new things, really anything that’s not Israel, but when it came to choosing a dissertation topic, something I both cared about and had a strong knowledge base in, I came back to Israel. I think I could see things differently with a little distance. I started my research in the late 90s when the idea of researching food seriously was not as obvious as it is now, and found it fascinating. It offered me a new way of thinking about questions of national identity and immigration. I wanted to write something that was accessible despite being an academic publication — that’s one of the things I love about writing about food, everyone can relate to it.
Yael's favorite records

Yael's favorite records

I love opera. I used to work at NY City opera many years ago and still love going a couple of times a year. Rigolletto is one of my favorites, especially this recording with Maria Callas.
Some of Yael's favorite beauty products ; Bracelet, Chan Luu

Some of Yael's favorite beauty products ; Bracelet, Chan Luu

I’m not a big believer in various diets - I eat and drink everything, but I believe in moderation and care about sourcing. I think wine and coffee and chocolate and the occasional steak and butter are all great, but I make sure my meat is raised responsibly and try to support farmers and producers that care about what goes into my body (almost) as much as I do.
Bracelet, Chan Luu ; Bag, Vintage from Brooklyn Flea

Bracelet, Chan Luu ; Bag, Vintage from Brooklyn Flea

I’ve been married for more than 20 years and my husband has his own opinions, our home is definitely a team effort. I tend to be more conservative so I like that he pushes to get some things that are more unique. He made our dining table himself and I love it. We try to support local designers/makers and artists so have art from Israel and from Brooklyn-based urban artists.
I admit I’m not a big shopper, so even though I’d love to support smaller designers and makers, when it comes to clothes I typically end up at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, where I know I’m bound to find something. My weakness is shoes and bags, those I love to shop for: they never make you look fat and you can dress up any outfit with a fabulous pair of shoes.





Lighthouse has great food and warm service (try the burger and their in-house baked bread, but really anything is good, great brunch too), but it's also nice to support a place that sources responsibly, manages waste well through a variety of great programs like Sure We Can, and treats their workers like family.

Tabare is a recent discovery. Small place with great atmosphere - perfect for a date. Great skirt steak.

✓ I love the Thai iced tea flavor at OddFellows Ice Cream Co.