Top French Chefs Create Gala Dinner & Enjoy Israeli Wine

A unique gathering of international chefs came together in Jerusalem to cook a Gala Dinner, to honor Chef Shalom Kadosh. Two hundred people paid NIS 1,800 (nearly US$ 475 each) for a ticket for this unique and prestigious event. The proceeds went to Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana, which cares for children and adults with disabilities.

Chef Shalom Kadosh, 62, has been Executive Chef of the Sheraton Plaza Hotel, now renamed the Leonardo Plaza, for thirty five years. This event was an opportunity for the culinary and wine industries to come together in order to pay respect to one of Israel’s finest and most modest chefs. His main achievement over the years has been to show that the words ‘kosher’ and ‘fine cuisine’ can co-exist together. For many years, his ‘Cow On The Roof,’ was the finest kosher restaurant in the world. During his illustrious career he has cooked for Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers and all sorts of celebrities, who beat a path to his door.

The Gala Dinner, held at the Leonardo Plaza, was made up of six courses, accompanied by four wines. The panorama of visiting chefs included some of the greatest names in the culinary world. Georges Blanc, Michel Lorrain, Marc Haeberlin, Nadia Santini, Philippe Legendre, Michel Rostang, Emile Jung, Jacques Chibois and Jeffroy Patrick. These illustrious Chefs, worth 22 Michelin Stars between them, had gathered in Jerusalem to cook a kosher meal! They were joined by France’s most famous food critic, Gilles Pudlowsky of the famous Pudlow Guide.

Such a rare gathering of culinary talent reminded many of the twelve course dinner to celebrate 3,000 years of Jerusalem, held in 1996, which was accompanied by six wines. That was the first time the world’s most famous chefs came to cook in Israel. The organizer and coordinator of that unique event was also Shalom Kadosh! Now 12 years later, he had again invited the world’s best, and showing their immense respect for Kadosh, they came again, some even canceling winter holidays.

The foreign chefs were assisted in the kitchen by some of Israel’s finest chefs including: Haim Cohen, Yonatan Roshfeld, Meir Adoni, Nir Tzuk, Yoram Nitzan, Moshe Aviv, Meir Adoni, Yonatan Roshfeld and Yaron Kestenbaum. Special care was taken to match the food with some of Israel’s finest wines. These were selected from two Israeli wineries. One was Carmel Winery, Israel’s largest and most historic winery, founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. The other was Yatir Winery, a boutique winery situated in Tel Arad, founded in 2000. The wines and after dinner drinks were as follows:

Pommery Champagne
A kosher cuvee of the French champagne was chosen for the aperitif, in honor of the French guest chefs.
90 points Daniel Rogov.

Yatir Sauvignon Blanc, Negev
One of Israel’s finest Sauvignon Blancs, from a most unlikely place. This wine comes from a vineyard in the Negev Desert.
90 points Daniel Rogov.

Carmel Limited Edition
The flagship wine of Carmel Winery. An elegant, old world, Bordeaux style blend.
93 points Daniel Rogov; 90 points Robert Parker; ‘One of 100 Most Exciting Wine Finds’ Wine Report.

Yatir Forest, Judean Hills
Blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon from Yatir Forest in the southern Judean Hills.
93 points Robert Parker; 92 points from Wine Spectator; 94 points Daniel Rogov; “Best Israeli wine ever tasted” Wine Report.

Carmel Sha’al Gewurztraminer Late Harvest, Golan Heights
Late harvested dessert wine, from northern Golan Heights vineyards.
Winner of gold medals in London & Israel. 90 points Robert Parker; 95 points Howard Goldberg.

Carmel Vintage, Judean Hills
A fortified wine made in the style of vintage port. Made from Petite Sirah grapes.
One of Israel’s best port style wines.

Carmel 100 Brandy
Pot distilled brandy, with components in the blend ranging from 8 to 25 years old. Aged in used wine barrels, in 100 year old cellars. Past Winner of the Trophy for Best Brandy Worldwide at the IWSC in London. “Best Israeli brandy” Daniel Rogov.

Such was the interest in the visit of all these chefs, that the event was covered by Israel’s Channel Two Television.

At the end of the evening, there were a number of speeches and presentations. Carmel Winery presented Chef Kadosh with a Magnum of Carmel Limited Edition in a special wooden box, signed by winemaker Lior Laxer and all the visiting chefs.
In a speech to close the evening, Shalom Kadosh pointed out that the dinner had proved that Israeli food and wine could be at the very highest quality level of international cuisine… and be kosher at the same time!
He made clear that events such as this had put Israel on the world map of gastronomy.

Click here for the menu.

(This article first appeared on Wines Israel)