North American chefs, including Jonathan Waxman and “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons, arrived in Israel for a gastronomic road trip, billed as a Celebrity Chef “Birthright,” organized by celebrity chef marketer, Herb Karlitz of Karlitz & Company.
Additional culinary leaders on the tour included chef and television personality Amanda Freitag, chef and restaurateur Marc Murphy, Leah Cohen, TV personality and restaurateur Eden Grinshpan, chef and restaurateur Jenn Louis, Naama Shefi and chef and restaurateur Nancy Silverton.
The gourmet voyage brought together the chefs as they broke bread for the first time with Israel’s most accomplished chefs, artisanal food producers, winemakers and culinary tech innovators, who collectively contribute to an exciting and vibrant food scene. Celebrity Chef “Birthright” was sponsored by a prestigious group of American and Israeli partners and philanthropists, whose donations made the diverse itinerary possible.
“Celebrity Chef ‘Birthright’ will shine a spotlight on aspects of Israel that are less known abroad, including its culinary landscape, vibrant music scene and thriving nightlife,” said Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Kingdom and United Nations. “The chefs are role models for a young generation in the food and restaurant scene.”
The schedule included a visit to the Dan Gourmet Culinary School to meet culinary students; attending the groundbreaking ceremony of the Sheba Medical Center, for its laser treatment center for pediatric burn survivors; visiting Start-Up Nation Central and its bustling restaurant, L28, which is considered one of Israel’s most exciting culinary platforms; a tour of the Western Wall tunnels, and visits to Israel’s humming food markets, street food vendors and wineries. Throughout the six-day trip, the group explored Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with local experts including chef Ido Zarmi, chef Shuli Wimer and cookbook author, Adeena Sussman.
“When I visited Israel in 2018, I was blown away by the culinary scene and how it had changed from my first trip more than 20 years ago,” Karlitz said. “After eating the most amazing food this time, and seeing the difference the country has undergone in terms of ingredients and technique, I was convinced their food story had to be told and based on my background and longtime relationships, I knew I was the person to make it happen. I promised I would return and experience Israel with my friends. This became Celebrity Chef ‘Birthright,’ which has grown into something much bigger than I imagined, and I have been encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the chefs and sponsors to take this journey with me.”
Celebrity Chef “Birthright” is not affiliated with Birthright Israel, the not-for-profit educational organization.