Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Food

Sharpen Your Knives: Who Won Israel’s MasterChef?

Only in Israel can you find a lawyer-by-day-religious-Jew-by-night, a Muslim nurse and a settler duking it out for culinary bragging rights on the country’s [most watched tv program ever][1].

Those watching the final competition for the top prize on the third season of Israel’s MasterChef last week got a good taste of the country’s unique cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.

Modeled on the British reality cooking competition of the same name, the show features amateur chefs battling it out for the MasterChef title and a kitchen remodel as they are judged by a panel of celebrity restaurateurs. The incredibly popular contest includes a variety of culinary trials, such as the “mystery box challenge,” “the invention test,” and “the dish recreation test.”

[1]: http://www.haaretz.com/culture/masterchef-israel-finale- smashes-tv-rating-records.premium-1.500309

The big winner in the final round was Tom Franz, a 39-year-old German-born, religiously observant convert to Judaism who lives in Tel Aviv. The lawyer by day, won the contest with his dish of sirloin coated with pureed peppers, accompanied by eggplant mousse and potatoes.

In second place was Salma Fiyumi, a Muslim-Arab nurse and Alzheimer’s researcher from Kafr Kassem. She inched out Jackie Azoulay, a housewife from Elad, whose kadaif (an Arab pastry) nests didn’t quite cut it with the judges.

Fiyumi made headlines earlier in the competition for unlikely friendship that developed between her and another MasterChef contestant, a settler from Gush Etzion named Elinor Rachamim. The two women, both in their 20s, hit it off when they realized they had similar personalities and sensibilities. “I don’t see a flag behind Salma,” Rachamim said. “Every person comes with their strong beliefs, but that doesn’t influence who they really are.”

Franz’s wife, Danna, was quoted as saying that the victory was particularly heartwarming, especially seeing how much the public had cheered her husband on after his having come to Israel alone and initially having had a rough time of it.

Franz’s culinary acumen and flair has not gone unnoticed in his country of origin. Germany’s ZDF network aired a profile on him. In it, we learn about his seven-year journey of perfecting his Hebrew and learning kosher cooking. We see him cooking at home for his wife and young child, praying in the synagogue, and even being stopped in the streets of Tel Aviv by fans telling him how amazing his food is.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.