Staying at the beautiful Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, Splash Magazines Worldwide Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Lawrence Davis is intrigued when he learns that the hotel’s Executive Chef has been working there for 30 years. He sits down to talk to Chef Shalom Kadosh and isn’t surprised to find many awards and pictures of his accomplishments on the surrounding walls.
Davis asks Chef Kadosh how he feels about being the Executive Chef for so long in one hotel, and Chef Kadosh responds by saying: “As you say, over 30 years here in Jerusalem is something unusual for an Executive Chef but when you work in a place good for both sides there’s no reason to move other places.” Though it is a job that he obviously enjoys, it is nonetheless not an easy duty. Chef Kadosh spills to Davis that every morning, he feels like he has to prove himself, saying that he always needs to update recipes.
“You can’t rely on dinner of yesterday that was good, you have also today, everyday people judge you,” he insists. He calls his job interesting, but very tough.
Chef Kadosh’s motivation comes from the responses of people that eat and enjoy his meals. When he hears that a meal is successful, it motivates him to continue pleasing people. He was the first chef to ever bring gourmet food to hotel restaurants. His belief is that when people “come to the hotel, they still need to have a good meal.” Before his restaurant started serving gourmet meals, guests in hotel restaurants didn’t have much choice in their meals. He is proud to say that he “changed completely the idea of that time,” and is happy to be the one leading this evolution.
One of Chef Kadosh’s biggest dreams is to serve a kosher dinner to all Arab leaders around Israel. He fulfilled part of this dream when he served some Arab leaders, along with serving Cartier, Clinton, Bush and Queens. He says he was lucky to prepare dinner for King Hussein of Jordan, and he hopes to continue cooking for other Arab leaders. Keeping kosher is not simple as there is sometimes no way around the dietary rules and thus some recipes must be ruled out. When asked how keeping kosher affects Chef Kadosh, he replies: “It is a handicap.”
He may call it a handicap, but it’s a handicap that Chef Kadosh successfully works around. He shares a great story about how after cooking a kosher meal for the President of France, the President came over to ask Chef Kadosh if the meal was actually kosher. Chef Kadosh says that moments like these make it worthwhile.
To hear Chef Kadosh tell this charming story, click here: (Coming soon!)
But can cooking for Arab leaders help along the peace process? “I think through food everything comes more easy,” Chef Kadosh says, hoping that peace will come.
Chef Kadosh also cooks large meals, such as banquets at the Dead Sea or Masada, and he enjoys those because they give him lots of energy. One of his favourite memories was 10 years ago, when a dinner took place to celebrate 3,000 years in Jerusalem. Chefs came from all over the world, from the United States, France, Switzerland, Italy, and more. The 12 course dinner put “ Israeli gastronomy on the world map of gastronomy because they saw world chefs come together under one umbrella to make a kosher meal,” Chef Kadosh happily explains. He continues to talk about Chef Paul Prudhomme, who came from New Orleans. Chef Paul Prudhomme was in a wheelchair and Chef Kadosh will never forget that Chef Prudhomme told him “’when u invite me to come I don’t know how I can do it but I’m so happy I made it to come’ and he was really very very nice.” Chef Kadosh was glad he decided to come, as he speaks highly of the chef and says: “I was very happy that he could do it.”
When chefs from around the world come together to cook, it is no doubt that many different languages are at play. But Chef Kadosh doesn’t think different languages present a barrier. “That was the easy part; the hard part is to convince them to make kosher food,” he chuckles. One time, an Italian chef came to J erusalem and wanted to make Parmesan Rissoto with leaves of gold. Chef Kadosh recalls that the chef said that if he’s coming to Jerusalem, that’s exactly the dish he wants to serve. But Chef Kadosh, unsure if the gold was kosher or not, told the Italian chef that he would need to check with the Rabbi first. The Italian chef’s response was that in Italy, you can’t eat meat on Friday but his Priest allowed him to so he’ll be able to clear with the Rabbi to use “a little parmesan.” Chef Kadosh tried to tell the chef that the Priest and Rabbi and Mashgiaḥ (one who supervises food in a kosher establishment), are very different, but the Italian chef said “don’t worry, leave it to me.”
To find out what happened, listen to Chef Kadosh tell the story by clicking here: (Coming soon!)
Of course it couldn’t happen, as Chef Kadosh knew all along. He and Davis laughed together at this, and then it was time for Davis to go. He left understanding why the full of life Chef Kadosh has been the Executive Chef for 30 years, and has no doubt that he will be there for many more years to come. It is nice to stay at a hotel like the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, with an Executive Chef that genuinely cares so much about his business and is always determined to please guests with his cooking.
To read a full review about the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, click here.
To find out what happens next in Davis' trip to Israel, click here.
To read about Rent-a-Guide Tours, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip to Tel Aviv, click here.
To read about Davis’ trip in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, click here.
To read about Davis’ ride from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' trip in the Old City of Jerusalem, click here.
To read about Davis' trip to Jerusalem from his Uncle's perspective, click here.
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