Don’t let the name Anthony fool you: star chef Tony Maws is Jewish.

“My mom just loved the name Anthony,” he said with a laugh as he welcomed 30-plus guests to Cambridge’s Craigie on Main on a recent snowy Saturday for a Passover cooking class.

His dad is from the Bronx; his mom is from Newton. Maws grew up in Newton, spending time in his Baba Hannah’s kitchen. Her portrait now hangs in Craigie’s kitchen, casting a watchful eye over the proceedings.

Guests nibbled on red beet hummus on sesame crackers, chicken rillettes and bluefish pâté. Then Maws walked his audience through a matzoh-ball-making tutorial and showed them how to make brisket. Finally, it was time for a multi-course Passover feast: chopped liver with vegetable crudités, pastrami-cured Scottish salmon on watercress, Baba Hannah’s matzoh-ball soup, almond-and-prune-braised beef brisket and sheep’s milk cheesecake.

We got four secrets (and a recipe!) from Maws’ kitchen.

Four Passover Tips

  1. Add a sprinkle of ground ginger powder to your matzoh-ball dough for extra flavor. Maws learned this technique from Jewish cooking expert Joan Nathan.
  2. For the best and freshest cuts of meat, Maws shops at Savenor’s Butcher & Market in Cambridge.
  3. To give your chicken soup extra richness, add unpeeled onions. Really! For an especially indulgent soup, use chicken stock instead of water.
  4. Use an ice-cream scoop to shape your matzoh balls. It’s not cheating.
(Photo: Kara Baskin)

Craigie Matzoh Balls

Makes 12 matzoh balls


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons schmaltz, melted
  • 1 ½ cups matzoh meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup chicken stock, plus more for boiling
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Combine egg yolks and schmaltz with matzoh meal, ground ginger powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken stock gradually until a crumbly but hydrated dough is formed. (It should clump when squeezed in the fist, but not be hard. You may need more or less stock than listed.)
  2. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
  3. Gently fold egg whites into the dough in two additions. The resulting dough will look kind of like loose, overcooked oatmeal.
  4. Rest dough one hour.
  5. Portion with a two-ounce scoop and let balls rest one hour.
  6. Round flat side of balls with your hands and drop them into seasoned, boiling chicken stock. Bring back up to a gentle simmer and cover. Don’t peek for at least the first half-hour, as you may deflate the balls.
  7. They are done after about one hour, when a cake tester can be inserted and removed with little to no resistance.