Exploring Israel’s Top Chefs with Yehuda Nahar

Published: February 25, 2020

Israeli cuisine is one of the trendiest, most sought after cuisines on the international culinary scene today. However, until recently, the most common question about the Israeli kitchen was – what is Israeli food? Now this question finally has an answer and is making headlines all over the world. Surprisingly, Israeli cuisine has received an identity and its due recognition outside of its country’s borders. It is currently considered the ‘hottest’ in London, New York, and Berlin — the world’s leading culinary destinations — and if you ask the primary Israeli chefs, they’ll tell you that this is only the beginning.

Where does the phrase ‘modern Israeli cuisine’ come from? It seems that the past decade’s extraordinary global culinary revolution has defined the term. On the other hand, it may be a phenomenon mostly due to Israeli chefs living abroad, far from their usually picky audience, having an easier time breaking the rules about traditional foods such as falafel and hummus. Or perhaps it has just been a matter of timing. Either way, one thing is certain: something amazing and quite historic is happening to Israeli cuisine.

So what is it about Israeli food that excites Chef Meir Adoni, and what does Chef Mike Solomonov love about the up-and-coming Israeli culinary scene? I spoke to eleven of Israel’s most renowned chefs who own and operate Mediterranean Israeli restaurants abroad.

Meir Adoni

One of the world’s most widely-known Israeli chefs, Adoni owns and operates a litany of top restaurants, including the renowned Catit, considered a candidate for a Michelin star. In addition to his new, warmly-reviewed Manhattan restaurant Nur, Adoni is a popular television personality, appearing in everything from commercials to cooking shows.

Elior Balbul

A former protégé of chef Meir Adoni, Balbul has brought his country’s cuisine to Brooklyn as chef of Alenbi, a modern—and kosher—Israeli restaurant serving the Jewish community. Creatively building off of the flavors and techniques of traditional Israeli cooking, Alenbi, and Balbul, see the kitchen as a place of never-ending creativity.

Einat Admony

Credited for helping to advance the current paradigm shift in Israeli cuisine, Admony, the vision and chef behind restaurants like Balaboosta and the falafel chain Taim, has cooking shows on Netflix and other TV networks, not to mention articles in major magazines and cookbooks to her credit.