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Israeli Master Chef With Remarkable History Seeks Larger Kosher Stage

by Steve Walz and Kosher Today Staff Reporters

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JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — Tom Franz was born approximately 40 years ago to a Catholic family in Cologne, Germany. In 2013, he won the coveted title of “Master Chef” during the 3rd season of Israel’s version of the American culinary hit TV show. In between, Chef Franz embarked on an incredible journey that took him all the way to Orthodox Judaism and a passion for taking kosher cuisine upscale. 

When he enrolled in a high school student exchange program with Israel at age 16, it set in motion a love affair with Judaism that included stints as a volunteer in Israel. After graduating as an attorney in Germany, Franz ultimately converted at age 31. But his other love was cooking and he ultimately beat thousands of aspiring chefs, who went through the arduous audition process for “Master Chef.” During the long and intense season, where the contestants sometimes had to cook and stay on the set for nearly 20 hours plus a day, Franz continually impressed the judges and viewers alike (“Master Chef” was consistently ranked #1 in the ratings), as he fulfilled his vision and passion to create sumptuous gourmet kosher dishes. As a result, Franz became the first ‘Master Chef’ in the world to win the coveted title based on kosher culinary offerings. The prime-time ratings for the final “Master Chef” cook-off between Franz and several other contestants reached an astounding 52%!

Franz’s gastronomic victory resounded all the way back to Germany, where the mass media lauded his poise, talent and conviction. As a result, Franz recently completed his first cookbook for the German market which highlights his life story alongside his favorite recipes from Israel. Franz also offers a private gourmet catering service, cooks on TV shows in Israel and Germany, as well as performing on-location cooking shows, workshops and lectures in both countries. 

In addition, he is involved in recipe developments for food companies, as well as culinary consulting for a variety of other commercial food business entities, including hotels, restaurants etc.    Franz’s other goals include bringing the first ‘Michelin’ star ever to an upscale kosher restaurant in Israel, and raising the awareness of the rich unique flavors of Israeli cuisine in Germany. Franz currently lives in Tel Aviv together with his wife and young son, David.