Leah Cohen is the chef and owner of acclaimed New York City restaurants, Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side, and its newly-opened sister restaurant, Piggyback NYC, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. A 2013 StarChefs Rising Stars Award recipient, Leah’s Filipino upbringing and annual expeditions to the region are reflected in her main cooking philosophy, which stays true to authentic Southeast Asian flavors while incorporating classical western techniques.
Early in her career, Leah Cohen 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.
Leah’s signature recipes can be found in her debut cookbook, Lemongrass & Lime. Her debut PBS Show “The Great America Recipe” is set to premier Summer 2022. When not in her restaurants Leah spends her free time with her sons, Carter and Baker, and husband and business partner, Ben Byruch.