Turkey and Israel haven’t been the best of friends in recent years, but agreements may be reached in the kitchen. Famous Israeli chef Shaul Ben Aderet embarked on a 24-hour visit to Istanbul on Wednesday in order to cook live on Turkish TV.
The initiative is part of a Israeli-Turkish collaboration involving Israel’s Ananei Tikshoret company, which operates the Israeli Food Channel, and one of Turkey television’s leading lifestyle channels – TurkMax of the DigiTurk network.
“I have already cooked in many countries,” says Ben Aderet. “I’m not afraid of cooking in Turkey or traveling there despite the political tensions, because it’s a known fact that chefs get along in the kitchen – even though there are knives involved.
“The beautiful thing about the kitchen is that you don’t even have to talk or understand each other. Good food created a bridge between cultures and reconciliation to overcome anger.
“On the personal level, my dream is to cook for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.”
What will you cook on the Turkish show?
“Spinach shakshuka with cream, Caciocavallo cheese and truffles. Fresh squash salad with walnuts, mint, cranberries and Gorgonzola cheese. And they’ll also get a fillet of beef coated with mustard and honey burnt like crème brûlée.”
Have you had any thoughts of opening a restaurant in Turkey, or cooking Turkish food here?
“I’m not missing anything in Israel. I only came for them to see the flag of Israel in front of their eyes. I don’t think I’ll cook any Turkish food. Maybe I’ll bring Erdogan along, who knows.”
Ben Aderet was accompanied on his trip by Sharon Lamberger, CEO of Ananei Tikshoret’s lifestyle channels.
“Food and culture create a bridge, even in times of political tension,” says Lamberger. “In this case we can make a contribution and work to bring the people closer despite the tensions.”
Ben Aderet and Lamberger say they met with Turkish chef Eyüp Kemal Sevinç and members of DigiTurk’s management team in order to discuss the current project and future Israeli-Turkish initiatives.
Kemal Sevinç, the executive chef of the Marriott Hotel Asia Istanbul, serves as a member of the European Cooks Association and the World Cooks Confederation. He has won 80 awards in prestigious cooking competitions.
During his visit to Turkey, Ben Aderet toured Istanbul’s biggest market, Kadıköy Bazaar, together with the Turkish chef and was a guest at the chef’s culinary academy.