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A peek in the kitchen

After three years in Tel Aviv, ‘Open Restaurants’arrives in Jerusalem – in a big way.

November 6, 2016 20:45
3 minute read.
COOKING CLASS: Chef Assaf Granit of Jerusalem’s famed Machneyuda restaurant.

COOKING CLASS: Chef Assaf Granit of Jerusalem’s famed Machneyuda restaurant.. (photo credit: YAHAV YAAKOV)

Have you ever wanted to cook with Moshe Basson at Eucalyptus or Avi Levy at Hamotzi? How about learning what inspires Assaf Granit? Or getting inside the kitchen at Angelica? Did you ever dream you could partake in a cocktail party aboard the Jerusalem Light Rail? Well now all that – and much more – is possible, when “Open Restaurants” arrives in Jerusalem for the first time at the end of the month. After three successful years in Tel Aviv, the initiative will arrive in the capital to a captive audience of eager and hungry foodies. From November 22-26, more than 60 culinary-themed events will be held across the city, from workshops to tours, lectures and dinner parties.

But none will be quite like the “cocktail party” held by the Adom restaurant on board the Jerusalem Light Rail. After departing from Ammunition Hill, diners will sip from a glass of sparkling champagne while enjoying live music and tasting dishes from restaurant chef Elran Buzaglo.

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If you prefer your culinary experiences on solid ground, then try your hand at a sushi-rolling workshop at Sushi Rehavia on Emek Refaim, or learn how to make four types of pasta with the chef of Anna.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Waldorf Astoria is hosting a workshop and discussion on “the most devious dessert there is” with pastry chefs Tal Spiegel and Claude Ben Simon, who will present the famed “secret garden” confection. Or head to Cookie Cream in the shuk for an ice cream making workshop and the secrets behind crafting the perfect ice cream sandwich.

Plus you can travel to Mevaseret Zion to study the art of making brioche with pastry chef David Laor at his famed bakery.

In one of the more unique events, four acclaimed chefs will be leading special tours of the Israel Museum, discussing how they are inspired in the kitchen by the artworks on display.

Chefs Assaf Granit of Machneyuda, Nir Zook of Mapu and formerly of Cordelia, Yahaloma Levi of Yahaloma and Nana Schreier of Nanuchka will each lead separate tours.

Open Restaurants, which launched in Tel Aviv in 2014, was the brainchild of entrepreneur Merav Oren, who said she dreamed up the idea while recovering from breast cancer in 2012. She reached out to partner with Aviva Levinson, who brought the popular international “Houses From Within” program to Israel, which opens up unique private homes and spaces across the country to the public once a year. Instead of opening homes, Oren and Levinson convinced chefs and restaurant owners to open their kitchens to the public.

For homesick Americans, the Abraham Hostel will be hosting a workshop (in English) on the sweets of Thanksgiving, including pecan pie, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and cranberry sauce. They also have a separate Thanksgiving dinner planned – albeit a day early.

And if drinking is more your thing, don’t fret – Herzl beer is offering a peek into its facilities, Beer Bazaar has a culinary and beer-pairing dinner and Hasadna bar has mixologist Doron Yakobovich leading a workshop in cocktails and pairings.

Even out of the kitchen there are plenty of options, including culinary tours of Mahaneh Yehuda, the Old City and Me’a Shearim.

Most of the tours have options in English. The participatory events cost between NIS 30-300, but there are also free offerings, including lectures on vegan food, food waste, culinary art and a variety of other topics. Events, tours and workshops designed for children are also available.

“Open Restaurants is a culinary celebration of dozens of restaurants in the city,” the organizers noted. “They will be opening their doors for an unusual and unique opportunity that will give visitors the chance to see, taste and touch the world of restaurants in a way that isn’t usually available.

Cooking in a restaurant with the guidance of an established chef transforms a meal into an unforgettable experience.”

Tickets are available for purchase at

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