Having power over the stories you tell about who you are and where you come from is the first step to getting where you want to go.

This idea guides everything we do together.

 
 
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I'm Emily Halpern, the founder of The RePast Project. 

I'm a coach, consultant, cook, and creative with a life-long passion for exploring how heritage, culture, and memory effect identity and belonging. I think of heritage and culture as tools that can help us reflect upon, reinterpret, and reclaim our stories, and that can help us relate to the stories of others. 

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

My love for story and strategy, my talent for helping others give voice to their feelings and ideas, and my commitment to keeping traditional culture and heritage relevant in today's world are at the core of my work.

With a collaborativeholistic approach grounded in my studies in culture and communications, my training as a co-active coach, and my work as a storyteller, I work with three kinds of clients

 

 

  • I HELP HERITAGE, CULTURE, AND FOOD-FOCUSED PROFESSIONALS clarify, create, and communicate their stories and craft compelling strategic narratives that help across all aspects of their work, from communicating and connecting with clients, customers, and colleagues, to finding and creating opportunities for meaningful work.
  • I COACH 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.
  • I WORK WITH INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS, AND ORGANIZATIONS to create celebrations, events, workshops, and other projects that cultivate connection, foster empathy, and improve collaboration by using food to share culture, heritage, and stories, and to facilitate powerful conversations.  

I'd love to work with you.

 
 

“Change your opinions, keep your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots”

-VICTOR HUGO

 

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Why work with me, and not those other guys?

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

I probably think about it more than most.

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.

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 culture 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.

 
 
 

“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”

-ELIE WIESEL

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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. Through her work, she 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 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. She is a CTI Certified coach, a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, and of the French Culinary Institute (now the ICC). 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. 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.