Every food culture tells a story that reflects the history of the people who created it and the terroir that nurtured it. Israeli food culture, with its ancient roots and turbulent recent history, has one of the best stories to tell. During my talks and tours, I strive to go beyond dishes and ingredients and tie the food with history, religion, art, politics and some tasty gossip.
For the last decade, I have been touring and speaking extensively about Israeli and Jewish food both in Israel and around the world. I also hosted several culinary missions and led numerous food tours around Israel.
Among past speaking venues and audiences:
Jewish Community Centers, cooking schools, university campuses, Google Headquarters, Birthright groups, Jewish Culture Festivals, UJA, JFNA and Bonds delegations, chefs and food expert missions.
All talks are accompanied by visual presentations and if the venue is suitable, they can be combined with a cooking demo. It is strongly advised not to attend these talks on an empty stomach.
THE ISRAELI DOZEN: The Story of Israeli Food in 12 dishes and Ingredients.
Why do Israelis eat salad for breakfast? What is the most popular street snack in Israel? Who invented Israeli Couscous and why we all love chicken soup? These and other stories are featured in the entertaining and informative presentation that unveils the story of one of the most happening food cultures in the world. This talk is suitable for a variety of groups – content, tone and pace changes according to needs and interests of the audience.
THE CULINARY START-UP NATION
The Israeli cuisine has been named as a number one culinary trend for 2018-2019. Israeli themed restaurants and cookbooks win accolades, Israeli chefs open high profile restaurants around the world, and droves of foodies flock to Israel to sample its culinary treasures. How did Israel become the it country for food, and why now? The talk traces the roots of this incredible food revolution, introduces its key players, indicates the hottest trends and spices everything up with some tasty behind the scenes gossip.
JEWISH FOOD: An Endangered Treasure.
For more than two thousand years, Jews all over the world developed cuisines that were suited to their needs (kashruth, holidays, Shabbat) but also reflected influences of their neighbors and memories from their past wanderings. This treasure trove of culinary wisdom and an important part of our heritage may be on the verge of extinction, as almost all of the Jewish communities in which these cuisines thrived, ceased to exist. These cuisines continue to be viable in Israel, where there are still many cooks from the immigrant generation who know and love these dishes - but for how long? The talk offers a glimpse of the fabulous and poignant story of Jewish cuisines throughout the ages and across the globe, explains their role in the modern day Israeli food culture and shows how some of this precious heritage can be preserved for future generations.
FOOD IN THE BIBLE: From Seven Species to the Red Red Stew
Israelis eat salads three times a day, yet in the Biblical times, vegetables were a rarity reserved for the rich; meat was eaten four times a year, and it took an average housewife several hours to come up with a simple loaf of bread. Bible is brimming with stories that tell how our ancestors cooked, ate and procured food. This talk highlights some of the most intriguing Biblical food stories and sheds light on the connection between the food of the Bible and the modern Israeli food culture.
Roaming the country in search of culinary treasures is my favorite pastime and I love sharing my findings and experiences with like-minded foodies. In the course of the last decade I have planned and led numerous tours for families, visiting culinary experts and chefs. Following are a few popular itineraries, but I will be happy to create one especially for you.
The Shuk Tour
Shuk, Hebrew for a food market, is the heart and soul of our eclectic food culture - there is no better place to learn about local ingredients and seasonal produce. During our tour we will visit three very different TLV markets (Carmel, Lewinsky and TLV Port Farmers Market), learn about their history, chat with vendors, grab something in a pita, munch on market-fresh fruits and veggies, buy foodie presents to bring back home and of course enjoy the cheery hustle and bustle of a typical Israeli shuk.
The Food of Galilee
Green mountainous Galilee is not only one of the most beautiful regions in Israel, it is also one of the richest ones gastronomically. Our tour will start with a morning visit to the Old Acre market (fresh fish, incredible hummus, spices, sweets and more), followed by an artisanal cheese farm and a boutique winery. You will have to pace yourselves to leave room for a dinner at the Magdalena restaurant (on the shore of the Sea of Galilee), famous for its exquisite renditions of the traditional Galilean specialties.
The Cooking Nation Tour: a special treat for passionate cooks and adventurous foodies
We will meet up in a tiny bakery in Jaffa to sample a traditional bourekas breakfast. Our next stop will be one of the best spice shops in TLV, where we will learn about local aromatics and spice blends. A visit to the farmers market will afford us a glimpse at the miracles of the Israeli agriculture (from the cherry tomatoes that grow in the desert to the Nordic berries that thrive in the Golan Heights). A cooking class, based on the ingredients we have encountered along the way, will wrap up this unforgettable day.