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A good restaurant is, in many ways, a good kitchen, where flames leap, knives fly, and fast cooks pour their souls into making your dinner perfect. A superb meal begins with the professional people who carefully choose the ingredients - a principle that will be demonstrated repeatedly this month and next at the Toto restaurant in Tel Aviv.
Between now and the end of July, Toto's executive chef, Mena Shtrum, will host several of the country's leading culinary figures in his Italian kitchen, where together they'll cook a festive meal.
Among Shtrum's guests will be Bishara Hinawi, a butcher; Uri Sharon, a fisher; Erez Komarovski, a baker; and Eli Ben Zaken, a winemaker. Shtrum will cook a different dinner with one of the guests, with the menu influenced by the guest's profession and culinary tastes.
Sharon, the fisher, will bring some popular and some lesser known fish to the cooking session. He and Shtrum will cook fish stews, as well as first courses including delicious fish pastas. The dinners will take place June 11 and 12.
Hinawi, a third-generation butcher, will bring prime cuts including veal and lamb for a dinner that will combine the best of Arab and Italian cuisine. Hinawi will take part in the special Toto dinners June 25 and 26.
Komarovski, a breadmaking wizard, will introduce several unique loaves to Toto's patrons July 9 and 10. The fresh breads will be served next to a wide buffet of antipasti and exceptional main courses wrapped in dough.
Ben Zaken, the winemaker and owner of Castel - one of Israel's top wineries - will use his wines and grapes to make a tasty dinner July 27. The meal will be served with Castel wines.
The cost of each dinner at Toto is NIS 150 per person.
Toto, 4 Berkowicz St. Museum Tower, Tel Aviv. For information, call (03) 693-5151.
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