Promising young chefs cook for charity

Leading Israeli culinary masters feted at chaotic gala event

Croquembouche by Chefs Keren Kadosh and Orgad Roash (photo credit: AVI MIZRAHI)
Croquembouche by Chefs Keren Kadosh and Orgad Roash
(photo credit: AVI MIZRAHI)
The organization Se’udat Abirim (Knight Club of Israel) sponsored an awards ceremony last week that recognized some of the country’s top chefs and pastry chefs, while giving a stage to seven promising young chefs to showcase their talents. The unique event, held at the Hamam banquet hall in Old Jaffa, was also designed to raise awareness for the plight of agunot and other women who are in marital limbo because their husbands either cannot or will not give them a religious Jewish divorce.
The honorees of the evening included three chefs who were cited for their contributions to Israel’s culinary industry: Meir Adoni, owner of two of the country’s highest rated restaurants, Lumina and Blue Sky, as well as his newer chain of Dunya restaurants (all kosher); Yonatan Roshfeld, restaurateur, cookbook author and celebrity judge on the television show Master Chef; and Ruti Broudo, founder, together with Mati Broudo, of R2M, one of the most successful restaurant groups in Tel Aviv. Recognized in the same category was pastry chef Carine Goren, author of the cookbook Sweet Secrets and television personality from the show Bake-Off.
In addition, pastry chef and educator Estella Markovitch-Belfer received a special award in recognition of her life’s body of work. Finally, two restaurants – and by extension, their chefs – received awards for the year 2019: Best Restaurant went to David Bitton’s La Régence, in the King David Hotel, and Best Pastry Shop to Keren Kadosh’s Cafe Kadosh. Interestingly, both of these establishments are in Jerusalem, and kosher.
In honor of the occasion, Chef Kadosh collaborated with Orgad Roash of the Dan Gourmet Cooking School (Israel’s leading kosher culinary academy) to create the evening’s impressive centerpiece: a croquembouche – an edible tower made of 1,000 cream puffs.
On hand for the awards ceremony were also many of the honorees’ peers, leading chefs in their own right. In addition, during the course of the evening, seven promising young chefs were invited to prepare three dishes each – a chance to demonstrate their talents and make an impression on the distinguished gathering.
It was not possible to make the rounds and taste all 21 courses, but there were excellent dishes created by all of the chefs, especially:
Saccottini in beurre blanc sauce, by chef Omer Piperno; cucumber and green apple consommé, by chef Lior Bar; duck tortellini on spicy carrot cream, by chef Yotam Ben Basat; foie gras brulée on beet cream, by chef Tamir Hakim; walnut and pistachio kataif in orange syrup, by chef Amos Yosef; Asian chicken salad, by chef Eran Lankri; and fish roe in pani puri by chef Gali Ben Shimon.
Notably, the menus by chefs Hakim, Ben Shimon and Lankri were all kosher. It is likely that many of these young chefs will find mentors from among the event’s attendees, and go on to make their marks on Israel’s culinary scene.
Overall, however, to say that the event was badly organized would be an understatement. Hundreds of invited guests were crowded into a small venue, and it took a lot of jostling just to get a taste of any food. The idea of sitting down and enjoying the proffered dishes properly was apparently a foreign concept to the organizers.
Equally bizarre, the event was scheduled for the same night as the official announcement and presentation of the annual Time Out Magazine Eating and Drinking Awards, given each year to Tel Aviv restaurants in various categories. This created a situation where many had to race across town from Jaffa to Tel Aviv in order to make an appearance at both functions.
The Knight Club of Israel’s best restaurants of 2019:
La Régence at the King David. Kosher. King David St. 23, Jerusalem. Phone: 02-620-8795.
Cafe Kadosh. Kosher. Shlomzion Hamalka St. 6, Jerusalem. Phone: 02-625-4210