Mix your way to becoming a Moroccan 'Master Chef'

A Moroccan cooking class at the Jerusalem Culinary Institute can give you ideas for the perfect dish to serve in the succa.

October 11, 2011 17:18
2 minute read.
A chef giving a cooking school

chef at cooking school 311. (photo credit: Loren Minsky )


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Food lovers in Jerusalem with time on their hands over the holidays are spoiled for choice with most restaurants in the city offering the refreshing experience of dining in a succa. Those who want to learn how to prepare various foods themselves can attend a workshop in English at the Jerusalem Culinary Institute in Talpiot. The workshops are useful, fun and light-hearted and you get to eat what you prepare. I attended a session on preparing a vegetarian Moroccan Tagine and polished most of it off before the end of the class.

The first and only Mehadrin culinary institute of its kind, the Jerusalem Culinary Institute was started by award-winning Chef Patron, Yochanan Lambiase. Chef Yochanan trained with Raymond Blanc and Jamie Oliver, and worked at the Ritz and the Savoy in London, as well as the Sheraton Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem before starting the institute in 2003. The school is currently working on obtaining international certification.

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The institute offers a long-term, professional program and short term courses throughout the year with mixed, women’s-only and men’s-only classes. In addition to these, regular two-hour workshops are held such as pasta making classes for teens, cooking with Mediterranean vegetables fresh from the shuk and cupcake decorating. The classes have a seasonal theme and upcoming ones include “baking with autumn fruits” and “autumn soups”.

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The class I attended was entitled “Fun for Two: Moroccan Lunch”. People were encouraged to arrive with a friend and enjoy the meal together afterward. The class was made up of a mix of people – an Australian family on sabbatical in Jerusalem for six months, olim hadashim, an American tourist and me.

Chef Jeff Lewis gave the class in a relaxed fashion and answered all our silly and serious questions. His vast knowledge of organic, ethnic and vegetarian cooking was perfect for giving over the subtleties of preparing the dish. All was neatly prepared for our arrival with the recipe, ingredients and tools laid out before us. Everything used was simple and inexpensive.

“This is life-changing stuff,” said Miri who recently arrived in Israel. “one hundred percent guilt-free superfood! I can’t imagine a child turning this down.” Her friend, Nancy, was drawn to the workshop by the prospect of learning to cook the tagine in an authentic Moroccan tagine pot in the oven. The tagine, however, was prepared on the stove-top making it accessible to all. Chef Jeff provided information on how to tailor the recipe to bake in the oven. All had lots of fun including the youngest member of the class, Kovi, who stirred and tasted away.

“What I love most about my job is seeing the look on people’s faces when they make their first good dish,” says Greta Ostrovitz, principal of the school. “Their eyes light up when they create something wonderful”.

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