Tidewater gets a taste of Israel

by | May 12, 2017 | Other News

Chefs Guy Marom and Nir Margalith of Puzzle Israel, an adventure tour and catering company, spent a week in Tidewater sharing their love of food and celebrating Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s 69th birthday. Sous chef Neta Margalith, joined her brother and Marom for a busy and impactful week.

As part of the Israel Today series, the Puzzle Israel group shared their cooking expertise with students, future chefs from culinary schools, and those just interested in eating authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. The Margaliths and Marom also explored Tidewater’s food scene with restaurateurs John Stein of Baker’s Crust and Rodney Einhorn of Terrapin. They got a “first look” at the soon-to-open Norfolk location of Commune with chef and owner Kevin Jamison, a community partner with Virginia Beach City Public Schools culinary students.

The first stop on the chefs’ agenda was The Hampton Roads Show where they cooked in the kitchen with host, Kerry Fure, previewing their culinary talents just in time for the all-day, community- wide Israel Fest on Sunday, April 30. In addition to the games, artists, and local vendors, the festival featured the chefs’ fresh Israeli cuisine.

At the Culinary Institute of Virginia, Marom and Margalith spent time with students and with Andy Gladstein, the school’s president. “We are so appreciative that CIV students had the opportunity to learn about Israeli culture and cuisine in the best possible way: by working alongside those who know it best!” says Gladstien.

“Chefs Nir, Guy, and Neta were incredible in the kitchen, exposing students to unique spices and flavor combinations. Our visiting chefs were great ambassadors for Israel as well as role models for culinary students with international ambitions,” says Gladstein.

The day ended with a YAD event, Hands of Tidewater, where volunteers and the Puzzle chefs prepared dinner for the Union Mission Ministries shelter.

At Tallwood High School, the Puzzle group spoke to Global Studies students, some who have traveled to Israel, as well as to other teens who are studying food in the Family and Consumer Science department. The chefs prepared a quick and easy side dish featuring a familiar Israeli ingredient, tahini.

Moms from YAD’s MomME Time group enjoyed a meet-and-greet with the chefs just before the evening Israel Today event, Israeli Kitchen Encounters, a hands-on, culinary experience, sponsored by the Simon Family JCC, Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, and community partners. Approximately 80 people prepared, cooked, and ate delicious Israeli fare with instruction from Chef Margalith.

“We love coming here,” says Margalith. “The people are incredible and have such an amazing connection to Israel. We had such a wonderful time cooking with the community and can’t wait to see everyone next year in Israel. Yalla! (Let’s Cook!).”

The chefs also spent time with Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management students at Stratford University, and ended their trip with the Simon Family JCC’s fundraising event, One Night, at Baker’s Crust, where they cooked for a group of 120.

“What an honor it was to be able to host Guy and Nir,” says John Stein. “A taste of Israeli culture and cuisine from these two great chefs—we were able to celebrate what makes our Jewish community so special and taste a morsel of what makes Israel such a great country.”