In Tel Aviv, a Culinary Center Tackles the Age-old Question: What Is Israeli Cuisine?

The first institute focusing on Israel’s culinary world is about to open in Tel Aviv. Founder Naama Shefi tells Haaretz what makes local chefs creative, which legendary meal originated in the kibbutz dining room and also, despite claims to the contrary, why there is such a thing as Israeli cuisine

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Shefi, at the Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel. The center will feature a test kitchen where workshops will be held, old recipes will be upgraded and chefs will be hosted, as well as a gallery, library, deli and café.
Shefi, at the Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel. The center will feature a test kitchen, workshops, a gallery, library, deli and café. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Shany Littman
Shany Littman
The dining room, Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar, 1975. The famous Israeli breakfast, says Shefi, “had its modest beginnings in the kibbutz, when members returned from early-morning work in the fields.”Credit: Yaacov Sa’ar / GPO
A Fricassee sandwich at Santa Katarina in Tel Aviv. Traditional domestic dishes migrate to the kitchens of chef restaurants.Credit: יפית שימחה
Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel. T"The idea is to create a center that explores the question of what Israeli cuisine is, knowing that question might not have a simple answer.”Credit: Amit Geron

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