My ambition is to bring some change by providing food for thought: to use food as a means of reflecting the culture, history and complexity of the reality in which we live.
Our reality today is complicated and conflicted, and as my mother used to say — food brings people together. Food is our way of learning about the other, and also about our society and economy.
Food is not just nourishment; it is political and it expresses values, identity and sense of belonging, which is why people react to it with such emotionality.
Through my website and newspaper columns, I’ve tried to better understand what we eat, when recipes were the way to talk about raw materials and support farmers and producers. From conversations and correspondence with the readers, I understood that I was able to make them more proud of their roots.
At Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel, my additional ambition is to make the audience look at the obvious with new eyes — to find new angles and bring to the public agenda issues that the commercial media do not always deal with.
Among other things, we raise awareness of the danger of extinction of Israeli garlic; provide a glimpse into the Ethiopian pantry; get to know Palestinian culture through the various regional cuisines and the typical key ingredients; preserve extinct but relevant knowledge from cookbooks from the early years of the state; and encourage the public to reflect on the concept of “workers’ restaurants” and how they reflect our history, our multiculturalism and our attitude towards the new immigrant.
The meetings I have with chefs, home-cooks, researchers or farmers always inspire and motivate me. One notable example: Naama Shefi, the founder of Asif, founded and manages two impressive organizations that arouse international curiosity. She encourages people to dream big and teaches how to make those dreams come true. She has a deep understanding of spreading messages and telling stories with chic, style and intention.
The future impact of my work will be to produce a significant body of knowledge that sheds light on our culture and influences the choices of the audience. If we treat food in a more meaningful and appropriate way — from how our food is produced to recognizing the sources of inspiration and traditions behind the food we eat — we will treat ourselves and especially each other in a more respectful way.
The coronavirus period presented difficulty and uncertainty but also provided me with a lot of meaningful time with my children, who celebrated one year exactly when the epidemic broke out. Perhaps the biggest challenge is parenthood in 2023 — how to balance family life, children, marriage and career. I want to be a present and involved parent, to nurture a relationship with my husband and to support his career as well.
Growing up in Eilat, my parents instilled in us from a young age the importance of education, hard work and perseverance. Together with the process of coming out of the closet, and maturation and embracing being different, this is what made me the ambitious and creative human being that I am today at age 37.