November 5, 2012

New Kosher Culinary Arts School Launched in Israel

TEL AVIV — The newly opened Dan Gourmet School of Kosher Culinary Arts is a first time collaboration between the ORT Vocational Schools network and the Dan Hotel chain. It is hoped that the new $2 million center with its state of the art equipment will play a role in training Israel's next generation of chefs and pastry chefs. There is also a large auditorium for lectures and presentations. The center which claims the largest kosher learning kitchen in the world will offer an internationally recognized cooking and baking curriculum for aspiring chefs. 

Dan Hotel Chain officials said that the longtime culinary experience of the chain plus the ORT technical school's excellence in education will turn the Dan Gourmet center into the 'hottest' place to study the culinary arts in Israel. Raviv Schwartz, director of the new center for culinary arts, said that beyond training young people to be kosher chefs and pastry chefs, the informal courses at the school are a response to a growing need for workshops and classes among Israelis who wish to improve their cooking skills. 

Dan Gourmet is offering the weekly cooking and baking lessons in everything from soup to nuts: getting to know meat dishes; the Asian kitchen, health food, cakes and tarts, working with yeast and chocolate. In addition, there will be sessions in wines and alcoholic beverages. Raviv said that that the many cooking shows on Israeli television had contributed to a whole new category of 'foodies' - people who want to improve their cooking and baking skills; people who enjoy eating gourmet but can't afford dining out so they want to be able to recreate the dishes in their own homes. 

The kosher gourmet center will also offer separate courses for Haredi Orthodox women and men who are interested in improving their cooking skills. All courses are led by professionals in their respective fields. And while many newly trained chefs dream about their own restaurants, CIA trained chef Amir Ilan not only has his own restaurant in Tel Aviv, he is also the newly appointed Director of Culinary Education at the Dan Gourmet Culinary Arts Institute.

"In the past we had to travel abroad to acquire the necessary skills required to be a good chef,” he said. “Now young Israelis aspiring to work in the culinary arts can train here and work anywhere.” Ilan said that even while working as a chef and then opening his own restaurant, he has always taught because it is something in his soul. “I try to teach people not to be mechanical, don't just stick to a recipe, develop a sense of the dish you are making, like our grandmothers used to do. No measuring, just a pinch of this and a cup of that.” 

Kosher Today asked Raviv if the Dan Gourmet Center had considered creating a package for tourists offering kosher gourmet cooking classes in English and hotel accommodation.  He loved the idea and proceeded to write it in his I-phone.