The Repast Project

I'm Emily Halpern.

I'm a coach, cook, and creative strategist with a life-long love for culture, heritage, and food.



We all think about who we are, where we come from, where we're going, and where we belong...

I probably think about it more than most.


My work is dedicated to helping people reconnect to their roots and transform their traditions in ways that cultivate connection, that foster empathy, and that suit their modern lives in our changing world.


How did I get here?

Roots are a really important part of my story:

Both sets of my grandparents were refugees who escaped Europe on the eve of World War II. They arrived in New York in the nick of time, but the family they left behind perished in the Holocaust, along with all the stories and knowledge about their history.

Wanting to forget their painful pasts, my grandparents hardly ever spoke of life before immigration, and the languages of their childhoods never again passed their lips.

Only their food remained: over lunches of German cold-cuts and hearty Hungarian dinners, my grandparents told wistful stories about smokehouses and tiny strudel shops and faraway cafes with sweets that sounded too good to be true.

My own disconnection from my family's culture inspired my life-long interest in heritage, tradition, identity, belonging, and my preoccupation with memory and food.

As a young adult, I yearned for roots and looked for them everywhere: I lived abroad, spent my time with fellow-travelers and expats, immersed myself in other cultures, and learned other languages. I even became a German citizen and lived, for a while, in my grandma's home town.

Through my travels, studies, and work, I've learned a lot about food, culture, memory and the cherished traditions that give us a sense of belonging, connection, continuity, and identity. I came to see that I'm not the only one for whom heritage, culture, and roots matter. 


Maybe roots are really important to you too. 

Maybe you're looking for ways to reconnect with your culture, or to share it with others, or to honor it while still honoring yourself.


Working together, we can navigate the often tricky, sometimes painful, frequently joyful task of finding ways to leverage the past to better understand ourselves and one another, to improve the present, and to shape the future. 

This is my thing. Always has been. Always will be.

I can't wait to get started.



I view our work as a partnership.

You can think of me as your catalyst, cheerleader, and creative-collaborator.

My specialty is pulling out the important threads of your story to help you create a cohesive narrative that empowers you to consciously choose how your past informs the life you lead, the work you do, and the world you want to create for yourself and future generations.

My love for story and strategy, my interest in identity, my passion for asking questions and pondering big ideas, and my talent for helping others give voice to their feelings and communicate their ideas are at the core of my work.

With a collaborative, holistic approach grounded in my studies in culture and communications, my training as a co-active coach, my time as a chef, my experience in public history, and my work as a storyteller, I work with clients in four ways:


  • First, with CONSCIOUS CULTURE COACHING, I work one on one with women who want to understand how their cultural heritage shapes their identities and outlooks so they can discover personal truths, make conscious choices, and create authentic, purpose-driven lives.
  • Second, I offer CATERING AND CREATIVE SERVICES to help clients integrate their heritage, culture, or family history in order to help them tell stories about themselves, their culture, or their community.
  • Third, I create PUBLIC EVENTS, WORKSHOPS, AND COURSES  that facilitate self-discovery, foster empathy, and bring meaning to everyday life by helping people explore their heritage, reconnect with their roots, and share their stories with one another.
  • Fourth, I support others who are passionate about doing work related to food, heritage, and culture by providing CAREER COACHING AND COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY to help current and aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs get focused, get noticed, and get hired.


I'd love to work with you.


Why work with me?


  • You want to work with someone who knows a lot about food, culture, heritage, memory, and storytelling.

This is my life's work. I have an MA in Cultural Memory and another in Food Culture and Communications and wrote my thesis about food, memory, and the twilight of traditional cooking. I graduated with honors from the French Culinary Institute and cooked at Chez Panisse. I worked as a creative director and marketing manager for one of NYC's most beloved historic specialty food stores, and I spent years telling stories about heritage and history at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I bring the breadth of my personal and professional experience to my work with you.


  • You want to work with someone for whom this work comes naturally. 

My top three strengths are "idea-generating," "strategic thinking," and "communication," according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and according to the VIA character strengths survey, my top strength is "appreciation of beauty and excellence." I use these aptitudes day in and day out with clients.  


  • You want to work with a warm, approachable human being who will listen intently to your concerns, offer real support, and actually care about you. 

I'm a CTI trained coach, a badass brainstormer, a problem solver, and a total nerd. I bring my intuition, my love for people, and my commitment to a job well done to everything I do. Nothing is more important to me than you being satisfied with our work. I'll do everything in my power to make sure that you are.



As a coach, creative, and cook, Emily Halpern is dedicated to helping people understand the roles that culture, heritage, and memory play in shaping our personal and public narratives, our communities, and our organizations. Her connection to her own family’s history, her curiosity about other cultures, and her enduring interest in food’s capacity to house our memories and convey the stories of who we are have been the running themes throughout her career.  Emily uses food, history, culture, and heritage to facilitate conversations about identity and belonging, and she strives to create meaning, preserve tradition, and foster empathy and connection. 

Emily's diverse professional experience includes working as assistant to Alice Waters, cooking at Chez Panisse, writing for Food & Wine and Saveur, working as marketing manager for Di Palo's of Little Italy and consulting on projects for various culinary and cultural institutions like The Astor CenterThe Essex Street Market, and The Museum at Eldridge Street, among others. She honed her skills as a facilitator and professional storyteller working as a costumed interpreter and educator at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  Emily holds an MA in Cultural Memory from the University of London as well as one in Food Culture and Communications from The University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. She is a CTI Certified coach, a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, and of the French Culinary Institute (now the ICC). A passionate creative and inveterate polymath, Emily is also a classical soprano, and has performed as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn.