Four New Orleans chefs will travel to Israel later this month as part of a week-long cultural exchange between Partnership 2000 sister cities New Orleans and Rosh Ha'ayin, located near Tel Aviv.
Spearheaded by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Agency for Israel, this cultural exchange will introduce luminaries in New Orleans' vibrant culinary scene to the rich history of Israeli culture.
The chefs are John Besh from Restaurant August, Chef David Slater from Emerils, Chef Jacques Leonardi from Jacque-Imos and Chef Alon Shaya from Domenica
"I'm more excited than I can say," said Besh. "It's been a life long dream to travel to Israel and because of this remarkable chef exchange, it is really happening."
This is a return trip from a program last year that brought three Israeli chefs to New Orleans and Birmingham, which has an official sister city relationship with Rosh Ha’Ayin. In both communities, the Israeli chefs toured well-known restaurants, did cooking demonstrations and prepared dishes for community events.
The trip begins on June 23 and will include a tour of the Tel Aviv Farmers Market and the shuk in Jerusalem, preparing dishes for thousands of visitors to the grand opening of the Rosh Ha’Ayin Promenade, visiting Israeli wineries and preparing a meal for 400 members of the Israeli Defense Force at an IDF base.
The chefs will also visit prominent Israeli restaurants, and celebrate Shabbat in Rosh Ha’Ayin.
"Since 2006 we have developed a wonderful relationship with our friends in Rosh Ha'ayin," said Michael Weil, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. "While P2K supports a number of important programs for disadvantaged citizens in Rosh Ha'ayin, we place tremendous importance on the people to people relationships we're building. Two years ago, Federation brought three chefs from Rosh Ha'ayin to New Orleans-and we are delighted that we can now pay a return visit and share both great ideas and great food and wine."
Upon their return, the four chefs plan to host Israel Nights at their restaurants, and do demonstrations and tastings for the Jewish Newcomers, Young Adult and Leadership groups, and for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans’ Annual Campaign event.