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January 14, 2021 1:43 pm

Israeli Chef Michael Solomonov Launches New Web Cooking Series ‘Bringing Israel Home’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli chef Michael Solomonov cooking in “Bringing Israel Home.” Photo: Screenshot.

Five-time James Beard Foundation award-winning Israeli chef Michael Solomonov launched on Wednesday an interactive 16-episode web series about cooking, Israel and Israeli food culture.

Each hour-long episode of “Bringing Israel Home,” which airs via Vimeo, features the chef and restaurateur interviewing guests about various topics, followed by a live cooking demonstration from Solomonov’s home kitchen while he takes questions from viewers.

In the premiere on Wednesday, Solomonov — who has co-authored three cookbooks and is the owner of a number of restaurants in Philadelphia, most notably Zahav — discussed Israel’s diversity with Haaretz food journalist Ronit Vered and Via Sabra founder Avihai Tsabari, before preparing chicken thighs with kumquats and olives, and a carrot pilaf rice.

“I bring people to Israel physically, and I bring people to Israel emotionally with the food that I cook and the stories that we tell. And now, we bring people virtually,” the chef said. “We’re so fortunate on this show to visit with an incredible lineup of people, who will bring that sense of place and culinary discovery to us at home.”

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The second episode will feature conversations with students who are taking a gap-year in Israel in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and recipes for basic Israeli foods, such as couscous, labneh, and traditional Israeli salad. Future guests will include actor Sasson Gabay, Akko-based chef Osama Dalal, Sababa cookbook author Adeena Sussman, Yemen Blues co-founder and lead singer Ravid Kahalani, and baker Uri Scheft.

“We’re all searching for different ways to visit with the people and places we miss the most,” said Solomonov in a press release. “On ‘Bringing Israel Home,’ I wanted to try and recapture what I feel when I walk off the airplane and first put my feet on the ground in Israel. We’re so fortunate on this show to visit with an incredible line-up of people, who will bring that sense of place and culinary discovery to us at home.”

In the March 3 episode dedicated to Solomonov’s brother, David, who was killed during his IDF service in 2003 three days before his military service was set to conclude, the chef will interview members of his late brother’s brigade and cook a lamb roast that his family enjoyed.

All recipes from the season will be available in advance on the website of the Jewish Food Society, a partner of the web series, so that viewers can gather ingredients ahead of time and cook live with the chef.

Solomonov, who has been unable to visit loved ones back home because of the pandemic, said, “This is something that I kind of need to do. I really am homesick, and introducing people to Israel is what I do.”

The 16-part series airs every Wednesday at 8 pm ET.

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