Can't stand the heat

Chef bows to BDS pressure, cancels Tel Aviv culinary event

Gabrielle Hamilton, the famed James Beard winner, will not be participating in this year’s Round Tables tour

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton will not participate in Tel Aviv's 2018 Roundtables Tour, hosted by CoffeeBar (Courtesy PR)
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton will not participate in Tel Aviv's 2018 Roundtables Tour, hosted by CoffeeBar (Courtesy PR)

New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton, who was slated to participate in Tel Aviv’s Round Tables Tour beginning next week, has canceled due to pressure from the international BDS movement.

Hamilton, owner of the Lower East Side’s Prune, recent winner of the 2018 James Beard Award for Most Outstanding Chef, and the author of several cooking bestsellers, was supposed to collaborate with chef Ohad Salomon at Tel Aviv’s CoffeeBar.

Though Hamilton offered no comment on her cancellation, a local public relations firm confirmed that she canceled because of BDS pressure.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), a coalition of Palestinian organizations that supports the BDS movement, wrote an open letter to Hamilton and the other chefs participating in the culinary event in Tel Aviv, signed by a long list of prestigious chefs and food professionals.

This year’s event is focused on women chefs, including New York’s Hamilton.

According to the BDS site, Slovenian chef Ana Ros also canceled, although it couldn’t be confirmed whether her cancellation was due to BDS pressure.

Neither Hamilton nor representatives of CoffeeBar and Round Tables Tel Aviv were available for comment.

One chef commented that Hamilton is trying to gain back credibility from the local industry, which shunned the way she handled another recent decision regarding a partnership with famed West Village pub The Spotted Pig.

Hamilton was involved in the ill-fated decision to take over The Spotted Pig, after owners Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield were implicated in the Me Too movement. She ended up backing out of that decision as well.

The James Beard Award-winning chef behind Prune announced in September that she wouldn’t be partnering with Friedman, who was accused last December of serial sexual misconduct.

Hamilton’s initial announcement to partner with Friedman after his longtime partner, April Bloomfield, split from him following the misconduct allegations, shocked many people in the restaurant world who viewed Hamilton as a champion of female chefs.

Hamilton defended her decision, and then backed out in September.

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