The Jew And The Carrot

Sharpen Your Knives: Who Won Israel's MasterChef?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
thinkstock

Only in Israel can you find a lawyer-by-day-religious-Jew-by-night, a Muslim nurse and a settler duking it out for culinary bragging rights on the country’s most watched tv program ever.

Those watching the final competition for the top prize on the third season of Israel’s MasterChef last week got a good taste of the country’s unique cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.

Modeled on the British reality cooking competition of the same name, the show features amateur chefs battling it out for the MasterChef title and a kitchen remodel as they are judged by a panel of celebrity restaurateurs. The incredibly popular contest includes a variety of culinary trials, such as the “mystery box challenge,” “the invention test,” and “the dish recreation test.”

The big winner in the final round was Tom Franz, a 39-year-old German-born, religiously observant convert to Judaism who lives in Tel Aviv. The lawyer by day, won the contest with his dish of sirloin coated with pureed peppers, accompanied by eggplant mousse and potatoes.

In second place was Salma Fiyumi, a Muslim-Arab nurse and Alzheimer’s researcher from Kafr Kassem. She inched out Jackie Azoulay, a housewife from Elad, whose kadaif (an Arab pastry) nests didn’t quite cut it with the judges.

Fiyumi made headlines earlier in the competition for unlikely friendship that developed between her and another MasterChef contestant, a settler from Gush Etzion named Elinor Rachamim. The two women, both in their 20s, hit it off when they realized they had similar personalities and sensibilities. “I don’t see a flag behind Salma,” Rachamim said. “Every person comes with their strong beliefs, but that doesn’t influence who they really are.”

Franz’s wife, Danna, was quoted as saying that the victory was particularly heartwarming, especially seeing how much the public had cheered her husband on after his having come to Israel alone and initially having had a rough time of it.

Franz’s culinary acumen and flair has not gone unnoticed in his country of origin. Germany’s ZDF network aired a profile on him. In it, we learn about his seven-year journey of perfecting his Hebrew and learning kosher cooking. We see him cooking at home for his wife and young child, praying in the synagogue, and even being stopped in the streets of Tel Aviv by fans telling him how amazing his food is.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: masterchef, israel, cooking contest

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.