A conversation with Chef Itzik Mizrachi Barak of the Waldorf, Jerusalem


Waldorf Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Taste of Waldorf Astoria CREDIT SARKA BABICKA

 The Waldorf Jerusalem - Elegance meets Tradition

The Waldorf Jerusalem houses two elegant restaurants along with an outdoor tapas and cocktail bar.
The "King’s Court" Restaurant overlooks the soaring atrium at the heart of the hotel.
The Palace is a meat restaurant, providing modern gourmet cuisine.
The seasonal Garden Terrace tapas bar offers cocktails and modern tapas, with a Mediterranean twist

Born in Jerusalem, Executive Chef Itzik Mizrachi Barak has had an international culinary career, which began with the traditional foods in his mother's and grandmother's kitchens. He is considered one of Israel's most renowned chefs, having served as an Executive Chef in many of Israel's leading hotels, most recently at the David Citadel in Jerusalem. His talents have been shared in the U.S., Hong Kong and Japan.

What are some of the favorite dishes served at the hotel?
Seven Spices - The Palace, Thai Soup, and Miso Glazed Salmon in the Kings Court

What is the most popular dish served on Shabbos?
Our Shabbat menu changes every week, which makes our Shabbat meals so renowned and attractive, even among outside guests.

What trends are you noticing in Israeli cooking and dining?
We feel that these days people are looking for quality food and gastronomic excellence. Actually, both foreigners and Israelis alike seek cuisine they know from home, with a gastronomic “twist” .

Who are some of the international celebrities who have enjoyed dining at the Waldorf Jerusalem?
We host many celebrities from all over the globe, both actors, singers and high-level politicians, and are obliged to keep the privacy of our guests.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers? 
We welcome KosherEye readers to visit our hotel and enjoy our legendary "True Waldorf Service". Our hotel provides a unique experience combining history and lavish modern luxury. In addition, the hotel is ideally located for discovering Jerusalem's cultures and religions; our inspirational environment lends rich character to one of the world's most ancient and holy cities.

Enjoy Chef Barak's much acclaimed recipe for The Seven Species 
Chef Barak was honored as one of only five chefs from around the world to be considered for the famed "Taste of Waldorf Astoria" 2016 competition. Inspired by Biblical ingredients and flavors, his dish, The Seven Species received rave reviews and is now available in the hotel at The Palace Restaurant.

From Chef Barak: “My dish, the Seven Species, (Shivat Haminim), represents my family story in the holy city of Jerusalem. This Seven Specie dish depicts the culinary history of the city of Jerusalem and its period. But the dish is not only a reflection of the geographical area, it also reflects the culture of the Jewish community that lives in Jerusalem. The dish is characterized by a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, eggplant and of course- tahini, a course so typical to the region that it is considered a fundamental need.”

Seven species Waldorf Palace Resturant

Recipe: The Seven Species (4-6 servings)

Sea Bream
4 filets sea bream (denis, in Hebrew)
2 whole eggplants
1 sourdough baguette (100 grams)
4 thyme leaves
1 lemon
 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (10 grams)
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil

Bulgur Salad
1 1/2 ounces bulgur wheat (40 grams)
1 pomegranate
4 dates
1 1/2 ounces pumpkin (40 grams)
4 pears
One piece of ginger
3/4 ounces parsley, chopped (20 grams)
3/4 ounces mint, chopped (20 grams)
1 teaspoon yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit that can be replaced by lime)
1 lemon
1 small red chili, fresh
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil

1 1/2 ounces tahini (40 grams)
1 lemon
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 cup olive oil
1 cup ice water

1 radish
1 yellow zucchini
1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 fennel
1 lemon
Drizzle yuzu (or lime)
Pinch of salt for taste
Pinch of pepper for taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

Fill mixing bowl with room temperature water and soak bulgur wheat for 30 minutes.
Grill eggplant on high flame for 5 minutes on each side until soft and blackened.
Remove stems and peel one eggplant, leave the other with charred skin. Cut both eggplants into cubes.
Put all cubed pieces into one blender, add ½ cup of olive oil and juice of 2 lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in blender on high until smooth.
Strain water from the soaked bulgur wheat and move to a mixing bowl.
Dress pumpkin with thyme leaves, salt, pepper and oil, and sauté pumpkin in medium-sized pan for 3 minutes until golden brown.
In a separate bowl, add yuzu (or lime) salt, pepper, olive oil, chili and mix. Add bulgur, sautéed pumpkin, dates, pomegranate seeds, pears, parsley, mint, ginger and mix.
Add yuzu dressing from the first bowl to mixture and taste.
Remove sea bream skin. Cut fish lengthwise and then in half to create four equally-sized rectangles. Season raw fish with thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Add the eggplant paste to one side of each fish piece, and add one piece of sliced bread to the same side as the eggplant paste.
Cut the bread to align with the size of each fish.
Place all four pieces in a sauté pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cooking fish at medium heat for 2 minutes, bottom side first, then flip until top side is golden brown.
Add tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and ice water to a medium size mixing bowl, stir until smooth.
Peel vegetables lengthwise, placing long, thin slivers in bowl of lemon juice, olive oil, yuzu, salt, and pepper.

Smear tahini in a line on the bottom of the plate
Place bulgur salad directly on top
Add the four pieces of cooked sea bream, shingled
Roll each vegetable and place throughout the plate, on top of the fish or in the bulgur salad
Garnish with leaves


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