Press Releases

Tenement Museum Gala to Honor Hulu’s Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi

April 15, 2022


Contact: Jamie Salen, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, [email protected], 646-518-3061


The Tenement Museum’s 2022 Gala

  • In-Person Gala Celebration: June 1, 6:00 – 8:30 pm ET
  • Virtual Gala Film Premiere: June 1, 8:30 pm ET


Media Advisory



April 14, 2022, New York, NY— Everyone is invited to the table for a “taste” of the Tenement Museum’s gala celebration this year. The Museum is set to host two separate fundraising events on June 1 – a free/donation optional virtual 45-minute film premiere inspired by Hulu’s Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi and an in-person ticketed event at Essex Market, the iconic Lower East Side food destination.

Padma Lakshmi visited the Museum last year for the filming of a special holiday edition of Taste the Nation, where President Dr. Annie Polland led her through the recreated home of a 20th century Jewish immigrant family who lived in one of the Museum’s historic tenement buildings. In the episode, viewers got a small taste of the many food traditions born out of tenement life and the role of food in the cultural evolution of the Lower East Side.

“The Tenement Museum is one of New York’s greatest treasures. It’s a museum in the heart of a neighborhood where so many of our immigrant roots come from. Walking through the many rooms is such an exciting way to experience history coming alive. I’m honored to be recognized by them,” says Padma Lakshmi.

The virtual film premiere of Taste of the Tenement will take viewers on a culinary journey of tenement life through time. We’ll explore the food traditions that were passed down to the descendants of the Museum’s tenement residents, and the broader connections made between neighbors, restaurants, and businesses through the Great Depression, the Kosher Meat Boycott, the growth of Manhattan’s garment industry, and more. The film will use cooking demos of historic and archival recipes, oral histories, scholarly interviews, and special guests Padma Lakshmi and culinary historian and author Michael W. Twitty to create a full course meal of the American experience through the lens of food.

“New York City tenement kitchens were places where immigrants and migrants connected to their pasts and made them tangible to their children. Visitors always connect deeply to these stories, and we are so excited to make these recipes, cookbooks, and kitchens the ingredients for our gala,” says Tenement Museum President Annie Polland. “Padma Lakshmi’s brilliant approach, using food to illuminate the many facets of new American lives, inspires us to both mine the stories within our tenements, and to follow them outside into the contemporary Lower East Side neighborhood, as well as the kitchens of our Tenement Museum’s descendants and visitors.”

Guests attending the Museum’s in-person ticketed event at Essex Market will enjoy the eclectic food of local Lower East Side restaurants, along with an array of curated experiences including live musical performances, tastings, live cooking demonstrations, and interactive guided tours of the historic food market. In-person event attendees will also have the opportunity to hear Padma Lakshmi and Michael W. Twitty in conversation.

You can learn more about tickets and registration for the June 1st gala here.

Special Guests:

  • Padma Lakshmi, Food Expert, Television Host, Producer, Author | Emmy-nominated food expert, television host, producer, and bestselling author, Padma Lakshmi has authored six books and created and produced Taste the Nation, her groundbreaking Hulu series set for a second season.
  • Michael W. Twitty, Culinary Historian, Independent Scholar, Author | Michael Twitty’s work explores African American foodways and their legacy in the food culture of the American South in The Cooking Gene, winner of the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Book of the Year.



About the Tenement Museum

Since 1988, the museum has forged emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, through educator-led tours of its historic tenement buildings at 97 and 103 Orchard and the surrounding neighborhood, enhancing appreciation for the vital role immigrants play in shaping America’s identity. The museum has become one of New York City’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 278,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, in the year before the pandemic curtailed most of its in-person tour offerings. The museum now uses various digital media to extend the reach and impact of its programs about American immigration.