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Israeli street food cookbook authors coming to Beachwood

December 6, 2018

Israeli street food cookbook authors coming to Beachwood

Israeli street food and two cookbook authors who aim to capture its mystique, will be celebrated in a public program 7 p.m. Thursday, December 13, at the Mandel Jewish Community Center, 26001 South Woodland Road, Beachwood.

The authors, James Beard Award-winning Philadelphia chef Michael Solomonov and restaurateur Steven Cook will discuss their book, “Israeli Soul: Easy Essential and Delicious,” in a program moderated by Doug Katz, chef and owner of Fire Food and Drink. The book has received a long line of praise, including this fall from the New York Times. The evening will also include book signings and light refreshments.

Tickets are $25 ($20 for Mandel JCC members). A bundled ticket that includes the book is $36. The public also can buy $200 tickets to an earlier author meet-and-greet event, which includes hors d’oeuvres, the autographed book, reserved seating and admission to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage’s “Israel: Then & Now,” special exhibition in which Solomonov is featured. The museum is co-sponsor of the Mandel JCC event.

Traditional Israeli street food, according to the event’s announcement, “comprises the spirit and flavors of Israeli cuisine and includes recipes passed on from generation to generation usually only found in tiny eateries, hole-in-the-wall restaurants or market stalls.” That may include falafel, shawarma and kabobs, the authors have said in interviews, but it is also interwoven with the history of Judaism and the journey of its people.

Solomonov and Cook, business partners, have a small empire of restaurants that started in 2008 with Zahav, a modern Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia. From there, Solomonov won James Beard awards for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011, and for Outstanding Chef, a national award, in 2017.

Their first cookbook, “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking,” won Beard awards in the international cookbook category and for book of the year. Solomonov, who was born in Israel and grew up in Pittsburgh, went on to appear in the film “In Search of Israeli Cuisine.”

Their other restaurants include Federal Donuts, the world’s first fried chicken and donut shop; Dizengoff, the hummus restaurant named for one of Tel Aviv’s most iconic streets; Abe Fisher, the American-Jewish small restaurant; Goldie, the vegan falafel shop; and the philanthropic venture the Rooster. One hundred percent of Rooster’s profits go toward funding the mission of Broad Street Hospitality Collaborative, where Philadelphia’s most vulnerable citizens receive food, social services and the hospitality of a well-cooked meal.

Read their views on Israeli food.

Read a more detailed interview with recipes for Golden Falafel and Five-Minute Hummus.

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