The Search for Israeli Cuisine
Philadelphia Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav has agreed to be the guide for The Search for Israeli Cuisine. Born in Israel and brought up in the states, Mike is passionate, knowledgeable and articulate about Israeli cuisine. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in 2011 and was a contestant on Iron Chef. At Zahav, one of his three restaurants, he cooks Israeli cuisine with authentic roots, taking traditional flavors he discovers and making them his own. It was named one of the best 100 restaurants in the United States.
“This is the moment for Israeli cuisine. There’s nothing in the world like it.” chef Michael Solomonov
Background: Israel has an amazing cutting edge food scene. For people who have never been there (and even for some who have) that comes as a shocking surprise. This is the first film to bring the richness and variety of Israeli cuisine to Americans.
Story: Chef Michael Solomonov, a young, inspiring Israeli born American grew up in Pittsburgh. Solo, as he’s known, travels all over Israel, eating and talking about how ethnic traditions from across the diaspora have been incorporated into one diverse Israeli cuisine. “This is the ultimate melting pot!” he tells viewers as he reveals this rich cultural and biblical history. ”We’ll visit the birthplace of wine and see olive trees so wide, they’ve probably been growing since the second temple.”
This is the story of cultures coming together, foods that are brought from far and wide, becoming Israeli cuisine. Our cameras follow Solo as he shows Americans a cuisine most know nothing about. “Israeli cuisine is as good as you’ll find in Paris, Rome, San Francisco, or New York,” he declares. The chef travels the whole country — Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the North, and the South — in search of the best cooking – Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. He visits home cooks and top chefs. He dines in fine restaurants, holes-in-the-wall, and on the street. He shows food savvy Americans remarkable cheese makers and the robust wine scene – 250 wineries, some awarded Robert Parker’s highest ratings.
Solo never stops being amazed at reinvented ideas drawn from the diaspora. He delights in the ways Israel’s hottest chefs revere their grandmothers’ cooking, as does he. From Bulgaria, she taught him how to make bourekas, a savory puff pastry. “It’s become the universal Israeli breakfast.” Viewers are taken into kitchens where ideas have been adapted from Poland, France, Morocco, Moldova. Solo’s hosts show him and viewers how some traditional foods are the same as they were generations ago, while others are adapted to this new, diverse, and exciting Israeli cuisine.
Goals: The Search for Israeli Cuisine has a mission to surprise and inform viewers. It’s part travelogue, part history, always illuminating. The film will shift the focus away from all conflict all the time. It will introduce Israeli cuisine to the fast growing population of food travelers, people who were unaware of the country’s hot food scene.
“I think it’s important for Americans to realize, that regardless of what you see on TV, regardless of your political stance, this is humanity at its best. And, the easiest way for people to relate sometimes, I think, is through food and culture.” chef Michael Solomonov
Length: 2 hours – divided into 4 half-hour documentary segments
Schedule: Shooting Fall 2013 – Airdate: 2014
Broadcast National PBS: WNET — PBS sponsoring station
Distribution: First Run Features
Production Costs: A detailed budget is available
Promotion: a major PBS outreach campaign will be mounted including a nationwide promotional tour. Screenings will be held in the six largest American cities with Jewish populations.
Sponsorship: Major supporters receive fifteen second image spots at the beginning and the end of each half-hour segment, a total of four spots. Names and logos will be included in all advertising and promotional materials. Private screenings, dinners, and other special events can be arranged.
Israel Ministry of Tourism
Israel Ministry of Cultural Affairs
Israel Ministry of Media and Public Affairs
PBS sponsoring station: WNET-13, New York
Distributor: First Run Features
UJA Federation of New York
The Search for Israeli Cuisine is in development. We are accepting tax deductible donations through The International Documentary Association, a U.S. 501C-3 non-profit organization.
We are happy to provide a treatment, full budget, and details about how the film will be disseminated, and credit information for sponsors. If you’d like to help make this film happen, please give us a call at 212.980.5966, or contact us via email.
Thanks for your interest.