It’s not every day in Delhi that one gets to sample food that’s an amalgam of Jewish and Mediterranean cuisine, cooked with Arab kitchen techniques. Well, that’s what the cuisine of Israel is like. And bringing it to town recently was famous chef, critic and food stylist from Israel, Z Buksheste.
And are you wondering why food from this Middle Eastern state echoes so many cultures? “Israel was populated by a majority of immigrants, each bringing it’s own food habits and traditions, blending in an amazing fusion cuisine,” said Bukshester, as he caked up some fragrant rice, wrapped in wine leaves at the open kitchen of Hyatt Regency Hotel.The Israeli kitchen is a melting pot of many such unique creations. So, while on one hand you get to enjoy their creamy orange-coconut shorba and their zesty hummus, you’ll also find fresh Mediterranean salads, at least five, that’s how a family meal begins in Israel. And when there are guests, the salad count goes up to seven, fresh and crunchy with a generous dose of herbs and olive oil. In fact, green herbs are something that find a place in almost every Israeli dish.
When digging into an Israeli spread, be yourself, said Bukshester, also the founder of Israel’s famous restaurant, Pink Ladle. Indeed, the food culture of Israel is very similar to the traditional Indian joint family way of dining. “We serve food in the centre of the table, and eat it from a common platter,” he said, tearing out a piece of freshly baked loaf from our mezze platter. “If you want to enjoy our food, chuck the cutlery and use your hands,” he insisted.
And in all these, where does Bukshester’s profession of a food stylist come to use? “Well, a chef’s job ends in the kitchen. As a food stylist, I judge the essence of every dish and put it at its best in front of the camera. You want people to become hungry when they watch your food!” quipped the chef.