just because: it’s awesome…

… when two of my favorite things in life come together and I had something to do with it.



Jerusalem’s Chef Uri Navon, center, with (from left to right) Hugh Acheson, Viet Pham, Maury Rubin and Ben Ford; in front of the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem

New York – November 9, 2012: A group of leading American chefs, including Hugh Acheson, Viet Pham, Ben Ford and Maury Rubin, were recently hosted by the Israel Ministry of Tourism on a week-long tour of the country’s trendsetting culinary landscape.The group, joined by leading food writer/blogger Cheryl Sternman Rule who accompanied the chefs to document their travels, traveled throughout Israel, visiting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Akko, Nazareth and the Galilee, home to some of the country’s most exciting developments in the farm-to-table food scene.

In addition to seeing Israel’s top tourist attractions, including the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Crusader ruins of Caesarea and the White City of Tel Aviv, chefs Acheson, Pham, Ford and Rubin shopped for seasonal ingredients in Israel’s best markets with local chefs, including Chef Uri Navon of Jerusalem’s Machneyuda restaurant; dined at the country’s best restaurants, including Uri Buri in Akko, Kitchen Market in the Tel Aviv Port, Eucalyptus in Jerusalem (where Chef Moshe Basson specializes in reviving “Biblical cuisine”), Rama’s Kitchen in the hills outside of Jerusalem and Pausa Inn in the upper Galilee region, the seat of the Slow Food movement in Israel; experienced some of the cuisines that make Israel’s food scene so uniquely diverse, including a Kurdish lunch at Zafririm village and a Lebanese and Jordanian-inspired lunch at Kze HaNachal; and sampled wines at the family-owned Tishbi Wine Cellars in Binyamina and world-class osetra caviar at Kibbutz Dan (which exports caviar to America’s best restaurants, including Chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin and Chef Daniel Boulud’s Daniel restaurant in New York).

 “We are honored to have welcomed such an elite group of culinary professionals from around the United States to experience the best of Israeli food and wine,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Tourism Commissioner, North and South America, “and we look forward to introducing many more top American chefs to the wonders of Israel’s unique farm-to-table culinary scene in the near future.”

Chefs Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of Five & Ten and National restaurants in Athens, GA, and Empire State South in Atlanta, as well as a winner of the James Beard and Food + Wine Best New Chef: Southeast awards; Viet Pham is the rising-star chef at Forage in Salt Lake City, UT, and winner of the Food + Wine Best New Chef: Southwest award; Ben Ford is the chef/owner of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA and former contestant on Iron Chef, opposite Bobby Flay; and Maury Rubin is baker/owner of New York’s renowned City Bakery and Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery.

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