Israeli chef Michael Solomonov is both informative and pure fun today in an interview on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air.’ Talking with Dave Davies, Solomonov discusses Zahav—his modern Israeli restaurant in Philadephia, recounts tales of his former struggle with drugaddiction, and shares a recipe for tehina, the mother sauce of Israeli cuisine.
Listening to this interview makes one think twice about buying store-bought hummus, or even serving it chilled for that matter. Like so many chefs, it's not the Michelin-inspired recipes of haute cuisine that get Solomonov excited about food; rather it's the simple flavors from his childhood, such as the pastries his grandmother baked, which created the indelible taste memories he carries with him to this day.
In Solomonov's restaurant, he marinates with onion juice, cooks directly over hot charcoal, and uses a variety of ingredients that may not be available in the average supermarket. Yet Solomonov's cookbook is a trove of simple and interesting Israeli recipes that combine fresh Mediterranean ingredients in a clear, healthful, and accessible way, making Zahav perhaps the most exciting cookbook release of this fall.