The road I took towards becoming a chef began, in fact, even before I was aware of it, as a child who was enchanted in the kitchen with his mother – a fabulous cook.
My mother instilled in me a deep-seated appreciation and commitment to the finest raw materials – as the basis for any dish.
I discovered Tel Aviv life at what used to be the city’s hottest entertainment spots, Little Tel Aviv and Apropos.
At Shaul Evron’s Kiosk, I tasted rare roast beef for the first time, and that first bite let my cooking genie out of the bottle.
I actually entered the restaurant industry and the world of cooking, because of my love of entertaining – making people happy, making them smile, enjoy… It makes me a partner in their entertainment experience…
In 1985, when I was 25, I opened a small restaurant, Keren, on Ibn Gavirol Street with my partner at the time. There were only 16 seats in the restaurant, and the kitchen was even smaller than our prep kitchen at Yaffo Tel-Aviv…
Because I had never studied cooking formally, I trained with various chefs in France at three-star Michelin restaurants. It was at one of them that the dream for my next restaurant took shape. And, a few years later, Keren moved to the historical and renovated wooden house, in the American colony on Eilat Street in Jaffa, and for years was a true gem.
Over the years, Keren evolved from a restaurant that served nouvelle cuisine into the place where I developed my own personal style – where local products served as the raw materials for dishes cooked with French technique and inspired by French cuisine. This combination, which seems so natural today, was revolutionary at the time and changed the local culinary philosophy.
We closed Keren 17 years later, in 2002.
In 1994, we opened Dixie Grill Bar, and right from the start it had its own culinary hallmarks. In 2006, we opened Philadelphia, Dixie’s little and quick-performing sister. In 2016, we opened a second location.
I am proud of Dixie and the team that runs the restaurant, keeping it one of Israel’s leading restaurants, in all respects.
I feel fortunate (my mother would have said “knock on wood”). I had parents who raised me with unending love. I have a wonderful wife and lovely children. I have been able to make my dreams come true, to be involved in a variety of projects around the world, to host a television show and to write books about food I love.
Yaffo Tel Aviv, which was opened on November 11, 2011, is the culmination of my work to date, of my experience, desires and personal taste – with the present and the future, an exciting entrée and, primarily, a joyful experience that makes you want to come back for more.
I believe that food is the way to people’s hearts. Food is not only a matter of survival, it is also a source of comfort, a way to express love and passion, and it brings people and cultures together.