Food Without Boundaries
Liron Zaslansky, Consul-General of the State of Israel in Dubai and the Northern Emirates with Chef Tom Aviv
Masterchef Israel's winner, Tom Aviv, the first Israeli chef to participate in Taste of Dubai articulates the flavours of Israel, which reflects his love and passion for cooking
FOOD is an ice-breaker in Israel, with the country's culinary traditions comprising foods and cooking methods that span 3,000 years of history. Due to its geographical position, Israel’s cuisine is a blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, strongly influenced by the Asian, African, and European influences. Thanks to all these flavours, Israeli food is some of the most delicious food in the world and some of the healthiest.
Recently, Consulate General of Israel collaborated with the Taste of Dubai festival to give us a sneak peek of these culinary secrets. Israeli Masterchef winner, Chef Tom Aviv, who hails from Tel Aviv, became the first chef to participate in Taste of Dubai, which took place from February 4 to 5.
Chef Aviv broke onto the Israeli food scene after his incredible win at MasterChef in 2016 with no formal culinary training. Since then, he has also appeared on several television programmes such as 'Ready, Steady, Go', 'Passport for Recipe', 'Cooking Secrets', and 'The Chef'. After gaining notoriety for his brave and out-of-the-box recipes, he founded Coco Group and went on to spearhead the opening of five very different and hugely successful culinary concepts.
He describes his path from becoming a Masterchef champion to now taking Israel worldwide on the world's culinary map as fascinating and daring while speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times. "Every step of my trip has been wonderful. I grew up in the same atmosphere, as my parents were restaurateurs who were fairly well-known in the 1990s in Tel Aviv. Unexpectedly, they never wanted me to advance in my job as a restaurateur. I thus began a variety of enterprises, but they were all average, and I had more failures than successes. I first accomplished anything at the age of 28, earning the title of Masterchef Israel.”
PUTTING TASTE OF ISRAEL ON THE WORLD’S CULINARY MAP
Chef Aviv claims that he is just getting ready to go on his adventure of learning about the genuine cuisine of Israel while bringing a taste of Tel Aviv to other parts of the world. "Using the language of food to speak with others is a whole other experience. When I first started, I never considered expanding my business to Morocco, Miami, and other locations. Currently, I have launched seven restaurants, out of which four are presently operating successfully.” he adds.
Describing his journey of being the first Israeli chef to participate in Taste of Dubai, he says: “It has been an overwhelming experience. I created a Chraime Pasta recipe live in two 30-minute sessions, inviting 24 people from the festival to join us. Chraime Pasta is a special take on the traditional Chraime dish, containing fish simmered in a thick tomato sauce with hot peppers and other spices that infuse that taste and enlighten the senses. Traditionally, Chraime is prepared by Israeli Jews of North African origin for the Friday night Sabbath meal.”
"I am thrilled to join the Taste of Dubai festival," he further added, "My passion for food and dedication to showcasing the diversity of Israeli cuisine aligns perfectly with Taste of Dubai festival’s mission to provide a culinary experience like no other."
EXPANDING FLAVOURS OF ISRAEL
Chef Aviv places a strong focus on savouring the tiny things as he creates new meals. "There are no limits in my brain. I am continuously thinking about my target audience and individuals who wish to try my recipes while I am creating or curating new ones."
When evaluating food choices, he doesn't stick to a standard menu of options. Food is at the epicentre of Israeli identity and a force that unites so many nationalities. Chef Aviv claims that Israel and Dubai have many things in common. "Dubai is a mash-up of several civilisations and various nationalities. Future breakthroughs in every industry, with a particular focus on the F&B sector, will be made possible by the cultural synergies between the UAE and Israel," Chef Aviv concludes.