fueled by tradition

Man’s relationship with the flame is both ancient and awesome. When it comes to innovations regarding all things combustible, humankind has proven to be impressively imaginative and resourceful. Fueled by tradition, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah extolls the virtue of oil. 

According to legend, Jews rose up against their ancient Greek oppressors during the Maccabean Revolt, defending the historically significant Second Temple against all odds. Their leader was a man named Judah Maccabee. He led the rebellion, as well as the subsequent rebuilding of the Second Temple. Judah is said to have been one of many who witnessed a miracle after the Maccabees reclaimed the temple. The community wanted to light a ceremonial candle but the temple had been bombarded and pillaged, leaving only enough oil to keep a candle burning for a single day. But, somehow, the flames flickered for eight miraculous nights.

To commemorate the holiday, Jews light candles for eight days in a ceremonial candelabra called a menorah, spin the dreidel, and fry potato pancakes to (tastily) evoke the power of oil.

Using materials made from petroleum — including a potato peeler, tongs, spatula, cutting board, measuring cup, mixing bowl, and storage container — chef Jared Bobkin (of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen) demonstrates how to make the symbolic and delicious Hanukkah potato pancakes known as latkes (pronounced laht-kahs).

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Latkes (potato pancakes)


  • 1 Bag of Russet Potatoes
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Cup of Oil (canola, vegetable, grape seed — pretty much any oil except extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt (plus another small pinch)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper (white pepper if you have it)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¼ Cup of All Purpose Flour
  • Squeezing out excess water, combine ingredients into patties
  • Fry on a medium-high heat in an uncrowded pan until golden brown
  • Serve with Apple Sauce & Sour Cream
  • Top with chives
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Chef Jared Bobkin

Va Chef M1

Traditional Hanukkah dreidels and menorah

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