If you live in Toronto, like I do, and you’re interested in Israeli food, like I am, you’ll probably want to see the acclaimed documentary film In Search of Israeli Cuisine at a special screening on March 19 at Beth Tikvah Synagogue.
Michael Solomonov, renowned Israeli-born chef and co-owner of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia, serves as a tour guide in the film, traveling throughout the country, interviewing scores of people involved in the local culinary scene. He introduces viewers to a wide range of chefs and their kitchens reflecting diverse Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian and Druze food traditions whose origins are rooted in many countries. In the process, the movie ends up also being a portrait of the Israeli people told through their food.
At the event on March 19, which begins at 7 pm, there’ll be a special Q&A session with the film director, Roger Sherman, and a selection of kosher treats inspired by Chef Solomonov, made by Israeli chef Daniel Tor and yours truly, Galya Sarner.
Here ‘s what a number of people had to say after they saw In Search of Israeli Cuisine.
“Roger Sherman’s In Search of Israeli Cuisine is a masterpiece. After seeing it, I promptly planned my first ever trip to Israel, in part based on what I had learned in the film. Equal parts culinary journey and ancestral archaeology, the film opens a fresh way to fathom a complex country and its people – whose traditions and ways can be more fully understood when you appreciate how its diverse population eats.” – Dan Meyer, restaurateur
“This film beautifully captures Israel’s rich history and complex culinary landscape, providing us with an intimate insight to the melting pot of flavors that I have always enjoy. I can’t think of anyone better than Michael Solomonov to introduce us to the very home cooks and restaurateurs who maintain family recipes and push the boundaries of this deliciously modern cuisine.
– Mario Batali, chef, author, philanthropist
“In Search of Israeli Cuisine is a testament to the power of food and cooking, both as an agent for change and as a master storyteller. With sensitivity and a wide-eyed appreciation, Chef Mike Solomonov guides us through this complex and ancient corner of the world. He shows us not only the beauty and depth of its culinary history, but a truly remarkable moment for its people as they define modern Middle Eastern cooking on their own terms. The film affirms that regardless of its origin, Israeli food is meant to be both cultivated and celebrated in all its drool-inducing glory! L’chaim!” – Gail Simmons, food critic, TV host and author
“Roger Sherman has done it again. He’s crafted a film that balances the short, rich history of the Israel with the 150 cultures that either came or never left, where home cooks are saving their grandmothers recipes and chefs are re-creating them. He also gracefully show us that the conflict is ever present, even at the table.” – Ken Burns, filmmaker
“I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Israel with Michael and experience the woven fabric of cultures and food. And as much as that trip moved me more than I could ever articulate in words, this film brought me back in time to that journey when I had one of the biggest realizations in my life …that food is the one thing in this world that brings us all together as one race.
– Marc Vetri, chef, restaurateur