Authors to speak on cooking – Israeli style | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Authors to speak on cooking – Israeli style


Fill the kitchen with the aroma of authentic fresh-baked pita bread and a side of hummus.

Israeli chef and restaurateur, Michael Solomonov, and co-author and business partner Steven Cook, published his second cook book on Israeli food titled “Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious.”

The book combines Israeli history and the cultural history behind the food and has some humor and a lot of falafel. The pages are full of mouth-watering pictures of the food and Solomonov shows himself making the recipes step-by-step.

Learn more about how to fill your kitchen with Israeli aromas at a screening of “In search of Israeli Cuisine” on Nov. 12 and a chance to meet Solomonov and Cook on Nov. 28, at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center. For more info visit

As a co-owner with Cook of several restaurants in Philadelphia, Solomonov said that making Israeli food is a “way to connect to my heritage.” Their first restaurant, Zahav, is 10 years old.

In preparation for writing “Israeli Soul,” Solomonov and Cook traveled to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and smaller spots in Israel and ate at a total of 82 restaurants in 7 days. They visited establishments that are second- and third-generation, family-owned.

Solomonov said the experience of visiting these restaurants and meeting the owners was amazing and that he “can’t help but be moved by the variety, history, culture and families.”

Solomonov and Cook tried the cuisine at some restaurants that pre-date 1948, “longer than the existence of the entire country,” Solomonov said.

In “Israeli Soul,” they wanted to make the recipes so accessible that even if you live in a small apartment, you can make a meal, Solomonov said.

No top-of-the-line kitchen appliances necessary, just “a couple burners and an oven that sort of works,” Solomonov said.

These recipes aim to be “approachable and doable,” he said.

Knead your own dough for fresh-baked pita bread and make the five minute hummus. Solomonov described the whole process as “very easy, very little clean up and excellent results.”

He continued, “you can have fresh bread and hummus, attainable in an hour, start to finish—is a reason to do it.”

Solomonov is a father of two boys. The book’s recipes are family-oriented, as Solomonov said he is “trying to make families closer with this book.”

Solomonov and Cook have been business partners for 13 years. Even with the “trials and tribulations of owning restaurants together, we still inspire and support and make each other laugh,” Solomonov said about their partnership.

When the two visit Milwaukee Nov. 28, it will be for a talk on “Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious” at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, sponsored by the Israel Center of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Boswell Books and the Harry & Rose Samson JCC. About the book tour, Solomonov said he is “in awe and grateful that people want to come out and hear what we have to say — hopefully inspiring.”

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How to go:

See the film Nov. 12, then meet the chef Nov. 28.

See the film

What: “In search of Israeli Cuisine” film and class. Virtually join three-time James Beard Award winning chef and restauranteur Michael Solomonov, author of the bestselling cookbook “Zahav,” as he travels throughout Israel and highlights the diversity of the people through food – from Israel’s finest restaurants to street bazaars to simmering pots in family kitchens. 1 hr. 37 min.

When: Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Free.

Where: Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay.

Meet the authors

What: Meet the award-winning authors of “Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious.”

Where: Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7 p.m.

RSVP and Purchase Tickets: or Mona Cohen at 414-967-8249.

Cost: $40 individual or $60 for a couple, with a copy of “Israeli Soul.”