Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Food

Star Chef Solomonov Named Israel’s New Culinary Ambassador

Chef Michael Solomonov can add a new honor to his multiple James Beard awards and foodie hosannas: culinary ambassador for Israel.

In a partnership that launches this month, the Philadelphia-based, Israeli-born Solomonov and the Israel Ministry of Tourism are forming a culinary partnership “to champion Israel’s extraordinarily diverse and vibrant culinary landscape.”

Translation: Solomonov will become a roving gastronomic attaché, who touts Israel’s burgeoning food scene through guided food tours, special events across the U.S. and dinners at his restaurants, including the much-lauded Zahav http://www.zahavrestaurant.com and Dizengoff http://www.dizengoffhummus.com.

“Chef Solomonov has been instrumental in raising awareness of Israeli’s burgeoning cuisine, not only from his Israeli restaurants here in the U.S., but also from the undeniable passion he has for his home country,” according to Uri Steinberg, Israel Tourism Commissioner for North America. “With his recent 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, and his award-winning and newly opened Israeli restaurants here in the U.S., the timing couldn’t be better for us to join forces to promote the destination as leading culinary hotspot.”

At the core of the initiative, which Israel announced through its U.S. PR firm, “is the mission to highlight the incredible strides Israel’s food scene has made in recent years — from a place known primarily for its hummus and falafel, to a cuisine that is world-renowned.” Indeed, restaurants like Mechnayuda in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv’s Ouzeria and Bnei Zion’s Gouje & Danielle have generated raves worldwide; Forbes gushed https://www.forbes.com/sites/annabel/2017/01/12/why-israel-just-might-have-the-worlds-best-restaurant-scene/#6ddc34a8de5f this year that Israel has the world’s best restaurant scene.

“Culinary tourism is a thriving industry, especially in Israel as of late, and the industry will continue to flourish regardless of the partnership,” said Steinberg, when asked what Israel expects the partnership to generate in terms of visitor numbers. “However, we do believe that Michael’s passion for the cuisine will help inspire new travelers to make a trip to Israel to experience the diverse, and often-surprising quality of the cuisine. Part of that will come from their ability to try the Israeli food at Chef Solomonov’s award-winning restaurants here in the U.S. and also at some of the Israel-focused culinary events we’re planning.”

Could the partnership result in a co-branded restaurant by the chef and his homeland? “There are currently no plans” for that, Steinberg said.

While Solomonov didn’t respond to requests for comment, he did note in the press release that “it is my life’s work to help people in the United States and around the world to experience the depth and distinct beauty of Israeli cuisine… Israel is a nation, a culture, a people and a cuisine that I believe in deeply.”

Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.



Thanks for reading this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war and rising antisemitism.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Support our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

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.