Israeli cuisine has hit its stride in the United States. From street food like falafel and shawarma to refined ingredients and delicacies found in the open-air markets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israeli influences are showing up on tables around America. And where there’s great food, there’s great wine.
Wines of Israel spoke with Jake Cohen, Editorial and Test Kitchen Director for feedfeed, to learn how his recent experiences in Israel have shaped his work in the kitchen, and the role he sees for Israeli wine in the US.
Wines of Israel: What does Israeli wine offer when it comes to food and wine pairings?
Jake Cohen: I love the practice of serving things that grow together since they often go together. I often skew to cook many dishes that come from the Levant, so Israeli wine pairs beautifully with any menu I’m serving!
WoI: You recently served Israeli wine at a dinner you hosted. How did your guests react to the wine?
JC: Everyone loved it! [Modern] Israeli wine has a much shorter history than most other countries naturally, so while many [people] may not be a fan based off a wine they tried 10 years ago, the wine scene in Israel has completely changed for the delicious.
WoI: How are you applying culinary experiences from your travels to Israel in the kitchen?
JC: Every single thing I tasted inspired me! The flavors! The techniques! I came back and added a few new recipes for my upcoming book inspired by the trip.
WoI: What most stood out to you about the food and wine scene in Israel?
JC: The food and wine scene is so chic without being the smallest bit pretentious. It’s just unapologetically authentic.
WoI: What stands out most when reflecting on your visits to wineries in Israel?
JC: I’ve visited many [wineries] in the Golan Heights [Galilee]. You just can’t believe with how lush the area is while a desert is only a few hours away!
WoI: As a chef, what’s your impression of Israeli cuisine’s impact on the rest of the world?
JC: It’s constantly evolving and one of the most exciting things in the epicurean space right now!
Jake Cohen is the Editorial and Test Kitchen Director for feedfeed, the largest social media-driven food publication. He spends his nights working on his first cookbook, JEW-ISH, to be published in spring 2021. Jake studied at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked the line at New York City institutions, DANIEL and ABC Kitchen. Before joining feedfeed, he led recipe tasting at Saveur Magazine, served as Food Editor of TastingTable.com, and as the Food Critic for Time Out New York. Follow him on Instagram at @jakecohen.