The Jew And The Carrot

What's a Mensch Doing on 'Iron Chef'?

By Micah Kelber

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of Micah Wexler

This Sunday night, rising star chef and member of the tribe Micah Wexler will face off against Master Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef”. We caught up with the popular L.A.-based chef to get some cooking and restaurant advice, a recipe for pomegranate brisket and to find out if he really will appear on “The Bachelor”.

How did the “Iron Chef” team find you?

The producer came into Mezze, my first restaurant, and really liked the food. He asked to meet me and then asked if I’d ever considered doing the show. When I was younger, I imagined it, but I hadn’t thought the opportunity would come about at this point in my career. He came back 6 or 7 times and then he invited me to be on it.

What is the penalty for telling us about the show before it airs?

A million dollars. In fact, they make everyone who is in the audience sign a non-disclosure agreement. When my episode was taped, my sister Miri was in the audience, and like everyone else, she had to sign an NDA. Shortly after, I talked to my mother and she knew all this stuff about what happened and I called up Miri and said, “Didn’t you sign one of those papers they passed out?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Didn’t you read it?**!” And she said, “No.” I made sure neither of them said anything to anyone else.

Do you have any advice for Bobby Flay?

He’s done well for himself, so he should be the one giving me advice.

Other than the show, what are you up to these days?

I am working on opening a new restaurant. I am shooting [to open] sometime in 2013. And I’ve been trying to learn how to make my own cheese.

Let’s talk about Jewish food. What’s the most interesting Jewish food you make?

Pomegranate braised brisket. (See the recipe below.)

Courtesy of Micah Wexler

Do you eat mustard on your knishes?

Yes. I make my own mustard. Sometimes I eat them with Caviar, which is great.

What is the jelly served with gefilte fish called?

Yuch. My cousin Bessy, who is now 87, taught me how to make gefilte fish and taught me extensively about the Yuch. You have to know how to make it. People who aren’t Jewish think it’s disgusting, but you have to eat the homemade kind. You can’t put that cat food stuff that comes in a jar.

What’s the difference between New York Jewish cuisine and L.A. Jewish cuisine?

More Sephardic influences here.

What is the best deli in L.A.?

Langers. They make the best pastrami you’ll taste anywhere. They slice it by hand. Everything they make is perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked.

What is the best Israeli restaurant in L.A.?

Flora Felafel.

If you had to add one thing to the Seder plate, what would it be?

Mint. It could represent the freshness of the Jews.

Is there any truth to the rumor that you’ll be going on “The Bachelor” next?

No truth to that.

Pomegranate Brisket with Pomegranate Gremolata

5 pound whole brisket
2 carrots
1 onion
2 leeks
4 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
4 cups of pomegranate juice
3 ounces of toasted pine nuts
1 bunch of parsley
3 ounces of pomegranate seeds
3 cups of red wine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of lemon zest

1) Clean brisket of any silver skin or excess fat. Season brisket with salt and pepper and sear in a hot roasting pan until browned.

2) Cut up the vegetables into large pieces and place around the brisket. Allow vegetable to cook for 3-5 minutes. Add all the wine and all but 1/4 cup of the pomegranate juice. Add bay and thyme, cover with aluminum and braise in a 350 degree oven for 3.5 hours or until tender.

3) While brisket is cooking, combine chopped parsley, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon zest and remaining pomegranate juice and hold to the side.

4) For the last half hour of cooking, remove aluminum from brisket and allow to brown while glazing with the juices every 5 minutes. When brisket is ready to be served, slice and place on a large platter. Spoon over the vegetables and pan juice and top with pomegranate/pine nut gremolata.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Micah Wexler, Mezze, Iron Chef, Brisket recipe, Brisket, Bobby Flay

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!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • 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.