July 24, 2017

Israeli Chefs Fulfill Dream of Expanding to US, but Not Always Kosher

New York - To many Israeli entrepreneurs, the Israeli market is simply too small to fully realize their vision and full potential. This is true in many areas, including high-tech, pharmaceuticals, security and…chefs. Israel’s chefs have in recent years received world-wide recognition and a classy restaurant in Tel Aviv is no longer enough. They dream of the opportunities in the big world but probably feel most comfortable in the US where they at least have a base of young Israelis who embrace their haute cuisine. But to many, the “big world” does not necessarily mean kosher for that is also restrictive, but then again who knows more about upscale kosher than they do. It was this dream that drove Meir Adoni, a 44-year-old Moroccan-Israeli chef and a star in Tel Aviv’s dining scene to open Nur, his first restaurant outside of his home city. “I woke up the other day and said to myself, ‘You have a restaurant in New York,’” he said. Or Eyal Shani who is planning to expand his Hamiznon chain to New York and Melbourne. He is already in Paris and Vienna, where incidentally the fare is kosher but Shani is not planning kosher for his Hamiznon in New York or Melbourne. But he says, he is considering another New York branch that will be kosher. So confidant are the Israelis that their Mediterranean and vegetarian fare will be accepted by the mainstream that they are looking beyond kosher. Several other Israeli chefs have opened restaurants in several cities throughout the US, but an Israeli culinary expert said that “the time was rife now” since Millennials and younger are looking for the kind of cuisine that the Israelis offer.