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How do you feel about being back to cook in the city that started it all?
When I first walked into a real kitchen, it was in New York back in 2002. Also, my first significant culinary experiences, both as a cook and as a diner, happened here, so it's good to be back!
How was the adjustment from working in New York City to Tel Aviv impacted your cooking style?
Cooks and chefs evolve over time and that's just what happened with me. In New York, I studied the techniques of cooking and in Israel I apply these techniques with the produce that is grown here and with what people have been eating in this usually hot and humid region for centuries. It is now known in the world as 'Mediterranean Cuisine' and it involves fresh and bright tastes, a lot of lemon juice, olive oil, fresh herbs.
Congratulations on your latest venture, M25. Seems like you have attracted quite a following with your meat centered cuisine and have brought Arayes into the spotlight in Israel - where they surely belong! What is your approach to this menu?
As I said, I have changed over time. You can say I do less of a variety of dishes now, but almost every dish on our not-too-big of a menu is considered a signature dish. Be it the Arayes with its juicy lamb filling or the veal tongue that is served with cured horseradish. It could also be the ox heart that we serve with chimichurri on the side. Even our hamburger is ranked amongst the best in the city. Overall I'd say my approach is, less is more.
What’s the next groundbreaking dish you hope to introduce to your customers at M25?
These things are not plannable. You never work on a dish thinking "this is the new s*it", it's a process of R&D based on the availability of what's in season etc.
Name a few spices you can't live without.
Black pepper, allspice, and bay leaves.
Thank you Jonathan!
Jonathan's dinner with Lior is on February 14th, tickets are available here.
We're also hosting a less-formal night of Israeli street food on the 15th, tickets are here.
Follow Jonathan for more updates