Leah Cohen is a judge on The Great American Recipe, premiering June 24 on PBS. Leah is the chef and owner of acclaimed New York City restaurant Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side. A 2013 StarChefs Rising Stars Award recipient, Leah’s Filipino upbringing and annual expeditions to the region are reflected in her cooking philosophy, which stays true to authentic Southeast Asian flavors while incorporating classical western techniques.
Early in her career, Leah cut her teeth in Michelin-starred restaurants working alongside some of the world’s most renowned chefs and continued to gain momentum as a competitor on the fifth season of Bravo's "Top Chef” series. In 2012, Leah opened the intimate 74-seat Pig & Khao restaurant, where her Southeast Asian street food-inspired cuisine has received notable praise by The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, and more.
In her most recent venture, Piggyback NYC, which opened in January 2020, Leah broadened her culinary inspiration to include nearly all of Asia—from Vietnam and Myanmar to Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines—based on her immersive culinary travels throughout the continent. Her menu at Piggyback NYC is reflective of the traditional recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques she learned firsthand working in kitchens throughout Asia, as she rediscovered—and brought home to NYC—the deliciously sweet, pungent, and spicy flavors of her youth.
As the child of a Filipino mother and Romanian-Jewish father, Leah was raised with the traditions of both ethnic backgrounds. She fondly recalls helping her grandmother prepare brisket and matzo ball soup for the Jewish holidays, and that was her first kitchen adventure. As she grew older, Leah’s mother entrusted her with the responsibility of preparing rice, a staple of Filipino cuisine, for the evening meal, a task she tackled upon returning home from school each day. In her spare time, Leah began experimenting cooking with the raw ingredients she found in the kitchen, creating different dishes and becoming completely enthralled by the process.
Leah’s signature recipes can be found in her debut cookbook, Lemongrass & Lime. When not in her restaurants Leah spends her free time with her son, Carter and husband and business partner, Ben Byruch.
Meet the Host and Judges
Alejandra Ramos is the host of The Great American Recipe. She is a television host, TODAY Show food & lifestyle contributor, trained chef, and food writer known for creative recipes and entertaining ideas that are playful, improvisational, and always just a little bit extra. READ MORE
Tiffany Derry is a judge on The Great American Recipe. The Texas native is the founder of Tiffany Derry Concepts and co-founder of T2D Concepts, the Texas-based purpose-driven hospitality group behind Roots Chicken Shak, Roots Southern Table and ‘Shef Tiffany spice and apparel line. READ MORE
Graham Elliot is a judge on The Great American Recipe. He is a self-described "navy brat," has traveled the world and all 50 states, sparking an intense interest in food which led him to attend Johnson & Wales University. READ MORE