Israeli chef retains two Michelin stars in Amsterdam

Could chefs within Israel ever join the international ranking system?

Moshik Roth cooks his Olympic medal dish (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / JIP SAMHOUD)
Moshik Roth cooks his Olympic medal dish
Israeli chef Moshik Roth’s restaurant in Amsterdam has once again received two Michelin stars from the prestigious ranking guide.
The list of starred restaurants in the Dutch city was published on Monday, and once again included Roth, who has been there since 2012. His restaurant, which is called &samhoud, will be changing its name to &moshik early next year.
Roth has the distinction of most likely being the only Israeli chef to ever have any Michelin stars. This is in large part because – despite its regular expansion across the globe – Michelin, a French tire company, has declined to rank restaurants in Israel.
Roth’s culinary career took place almost entirely outside of the Jewish state, having moved to Amsterdam as a young man. More recently, he found fame within Israel as one of the judges of the hit TV reality show Game of Chefs, which is slated to return for its third season next year. Since the show aired, Roth opened a chain of fast-food sandwich shops around Israel, which sells full meals for just NIS 8.
While a couple of other Israeli chefs have come close to receiving Michelin stars, they’ve also only done it outside the borders of the Jewish state. Israeli native Guy Peled acts as the executive chef for Gordon Ramsay’s Le Pressoir d’Argent in Bordeaux, France, which boasts two Michelin stars. Ramsay’s restaurant secured the first in 2016, and the second star earlier this year.
In London, Israeli chef Assaf Granit, who also serves as a TV judge alongside Roth, has received Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award for his restaurant Palomar, which serves modern Israeli cuisine. The Bib Gourmand recognizes restaurants that serve quality food at moderate prices. Palomar, part of Granit’s Machneyuda group, has received the recognition for the past four years.
But while Michelin continues to expand across the globe, it shows no signs of making it to the Holy Land. This year saw the restaurant guides from the agency reach Bangkok, Thailand and Guangzhou, China for the first time. Last year it hit Shanghai and Seoul, and it recently announced it would be launching in Taipei in spring 2018.
Last year, World Jewish Congress president Ron Lauder criticized Michelin for ignoring Israel.
“Israel today is a venerable amalgam of cultures and traditions, which come together to produce a distinctive and exceptional culinary scene,” he wrote. “Why, therefore, has your company refused to produce a guide to Israel’s restaurants? Though I am sure that it is not your intention, some have speculated that reasons other than merit color Michelin’s decision not to visit Israel,” added Lauder.
In late October, the Tourism Ministry announced that it had requested Michelin to conduct “an independent study on the country’s gastronomy standing and potential.” The group is supposed to produce a report by the end of the year to “serve as an important tool for the Tourism Ministry in promoting culinary tourism.” A ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday that the findings had yet to be presented.
A representative for Michelin did not respond to a request for comment.