OpenRestaurants 2018 – Dissect and Debrief

The annual OpenRestaurants festival is over for another year and here are some of my personal highlights from the events I attended.

Israel Aquarium | An Ocean of Flavor

The festival launched with an event at the Israel Aquarium featuring dessert creations by Kadosh and students from Dan Gourmet cooking school. The food stands were stationed around the aquarium, all with an ocean theme and some of the most impressive looking display was a giant octopus made of eclairs. Most of the other desserts were finished before most of us got to even see them but I did get a delicious pistachio ice cream, surrounded by candy floss at the end.

Leyad-Ha | Give me Machneyuda to go  

This tiny deli owned by the Machneyuda Group sells some of the restaurant’s signature dishes for you to make at home. As part of the OpenRestaurants Festival, people were able to purchase a voucher for a bag of Leyad-Ha’s finest items which included a cheat-sheet for making their iconic polenta, shikshukit and their house beer, Herzl Davidka.

Jacko’s Street | From Mother’s Kitchen to Chef’s Restaurant

This unique workshop was hosted by Chef Zakai Houja, along with his mother who makes one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, Kurdish Ravioli in Hamusta Soup. The team also prepared some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including Moroccan cigars, Red Tuna Fricasse, Goose Liver on Semolina Cake, Salmon Chraime and Beef Fillet with Mushroom Risotto Yifrach. As well as the live demonstration, participants received a booklet with the recipes of all the dishes featured in the workshop. Credit for some of the better photos to Meryl Fontek who I had the pleasure of sitting next to.

Alegra Hotel | The Architect of Desserts

Most pastry chefs create desserts that are made up of many ingredients but Elad Horn, the pastry chef at Season chef restaurant in the Alegra Hotel in Ein Kerem, is an architect by day and a pastry chef by night. As well as explaining how he ‘builds’ each dessert to attendees, many of the dishes also included a postcard with the intricate sketch of the components and structure of each dish. The balance of sweet and savory dishes included mini cheese puffs with mascarpone cream, black-and-white ice pops with blackcurrant and cardamom, lime meringue tart and three drunk balls.

Atalya’s House | Yeast Secrets

While some of the workshops involved listening and tasting, this event was a fully hands-on experience where participants were able to make their own yeast cakes, with a selection of flavors, and take them home at the end.

Atalya Ein Mor hosted the event in her charming childhood home in the heart of Ein Kerem. She explained the secrets to making the perfect babka/yeast cake. Atalya hosts a number of private workshops in her home, as well as a Friday brunch, which is open to everyone but requires advanced booking.

A huge shout out to the organizers of the festival Merav Oren and Adi Daniel, to all the restaurants who took part to showcase the culinary delights of Jerusalem and to iTravelJerusalem for helping to promote the events.

If you want to see more photos and videos from the events, I saved them all on my InstaStories highlights, click here.

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