Credit deservedly goes to Chef Einat Admony for the paradigm shift on Israeli cuisine, including the idea that opening an Israeli restaurant in New York is no longer such a risky gamble. Her youthful energy and out of the box thinking do not reflect her many years of experience on the culinary scene in New York.
Admony, who was born and raised in Bnei Brak, started under the tutelage of Chef Haim Cohen. For over a decade she has been paving the way for Israeli cuisine in the world with restaurants such as Bar Bulinat, Kish Kash, the falafel chain Taim, and her flagship restaurant Balaboosta in New York.
Aside from her restaurants, Admony has garnered many awards and achievements. She is forging a path to stardom with her cooking shows on Netflix and other TV networks, articles in respected food magazines in the United States, and cookbooks. As if that is not enough, Time Out New York chose her as one of the ten “women who make New York a better place.” Israeli pride, no less.
Einat Admony: Balaboosta is a restaurant where we serve very advanced Israeli food. From all my establishments, it is the one that represents who I am. A balaboosta is a woman who manages the area around her, who worries that there will always be people around the dining table and that the home will be full and happy. In the restaurant, we cook Israeli food with my personal interpretation. What is mostly important to me is that the ingredients be connected to each other, that there be a link between the idea and the ingredients themselves. And that is what we do at Balaboosta.
Wines of Israel: Which is your signature dish?
EA: ‘Cauliflower Everyone Loves’ is a serving of cauliflower fried in rice flour and served with peanut butter and crushed Bamba (a savory Israeli snack) on top.
WoI: What does the term ‘Israeli kitchen’ mean to you?
EA: It is a blend of traditional Jewish food influenced by the diaspora from when Jews arrived to Israel, combined with traditions and the Shabbat. On the other hand, this cuisine has also been greatly influenced by the local ingredients cultivated here.
WoI: What excites you about Israeli cuisine?
EA: For me, Israeli cuisine is memories from home and family. It’s the food I grew up on, with all its connotations and it is my comfort zone.
WoI: What do you think about the way Israeli cooking is being received around the world, and how do you think it will look in the future?
EA: In the past few years we have seen great excitement in the world about what is deemed Israeli food. And with that, we cannot deny that the Israeli culinary field is getting crowded, with many chefs, not only Israeli ones. They create similar concepts and it is becoming a bit exaggerated. I believe it will all balance out eventually.
In any event, I definitely see the great interest in Israeli cuisine continuing and not being just a momentary trend.
WoI: Do you have any future plans?
EA: I am releasing a new cookbook with Janna Gur, the Israeli cookbook author, journalist, editor and publisher. The book is called Shuk (‘market’ in Hebrew). I am also working on a TV program whose subject is hummus. In the future, there will be a show on Netflix called Balaboosta, which deals with women as a driving force for success. But mainly I plan to rest, although with all my plans that will be difficult. I guess I can always fantasize about it.