A conversation with Chef Yaniv Cohen

by | May 9, 2024 | Featured, What’s Happening

An Israeli Chef’s Table Experience • Thursday, May 16, 7 pm • Sandler Family Campus

Israeli Chef Yaniv Cohen will visit Tidewater in honor of Israel’s 76th anniversary this week.

In this conversation, Cohen offers insight into his world of cuisine, passion, and family.

For United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Israeli Chef’s Table Experience, Chef Cohen will prepare an exclusive dinner menu and share details of his life, his cookbook My Spiced Kitchen, and the many benefits of the beautiful spices that come from the Middle East.

To purchase dinner tickets and an optional signed cookbook, go to JewishVA.org/YH. For more information, contact Nofar Trem at ntrem@ujft.org.

Jewish News: What got you into cooking?

Chef Yaniv Cohen: As the oldest of five boys, I was in charge of helping my mom in the kitchen. Growing up in a Sephardic family, with North African and Middle Eastern roots, food was and still is a passion, and a way of life. While helping her cook for the whole family, I fell in love with food and spices at a very young age – drawn to the aromas, colors, and flavors we created together. Every holiday has its unique set of incredible dishes. There was not a single dish that our family and friends served that was not beautifully spiced.

JN: What ingredient has inspired you the most?

YC: Turmeric for all its flavors, color, versatility, and medicinal benefits.

JN: What was the motive to bring Israeli cuisine to Miami?

YC: I always wanted to share my Israeli cuisine with the world. I knew it was going to happen and sure enough, I was offered a spot in the first-ever Miami food hall in the beautiful Design District. I pretty much said yes immediately.

I love that people come from all over the world to try my green falafel rice bowl or sabich sandwich. Makes me proud and happy.

JN: When you are at home cooking for yourself and your family, what is your favorite thing to cook?

YC: Jewish Yemenite soup. Beautiful spices, rich flavors, warming sensation, a true Jewish soul food.

JN: What American dishes do you like the most?

YC: A real burger. Fried short rib mixed with ground brisket, simply seasoned, perfectly grilled on a brioche bun with garlic aioli, Dijon mustard, lettuce, pickle, tomatoes, and hand-cut fries.

JN: Do you have a favorite person to cook with?

YC: My daughter Rachel. We inspire each other every time. I love to see her cook and enjoy it.

JN: What is the most important kitchen appliance?

YC: A good, well-balanced, and sharp chef’s knife.

JN: How did you know you found your niche professionally?

YC: It’s all about feedback. When I started getting messages about how I was able to change people’s lives through the use of Middle Eastern spices and herbs, I knew I was doing something right. As I continued to delve into the world of culinary herbs and spices and furthered my developing knowledge, I became obsessed with the health benefits and nutrient properties of herbs and spices. My goal as “The Spice Detective” is to share all that I have learned and help people incorporate these spices into everyday dishes and drinks.

JN: What was it about your journey with spices that made you surround your cookbook around them?

YC: It was more of a need from the public that both the publisher and I found to be compelling. Many people needed more info about spices and a chef to guide and help them understand how to cook and use them. So, the decision was a no-brainer. It took 18 months of love and we made it happen.