Behind the counterBehind the counter

Chefs open their kitchens to public

Tel Aviv hosts its first Open Restaurants event: Four days, 80 restaurants, and more than 100 workshops on food, cooking and techniques

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Students eagerly observe a fish being filleted at last summer's pilot for Open Restaurants. (photo credit: Tomer Foltyn)
Students eagerly observe a fish being filleted at last summer's pilot for Open Restaurants. (photo credit: Tomer Foltyn)

Tel Aviv is appealing to its foodies with the upcoming Open Restaurants event, when the city’s hottest restaurants will open their kitchens to the public and reveal how they operate behind the scenes.

Some 80 restaurants citywide are involved in the four-day event (Wednesday, February 26 — Saturday, March 1). On offer will be more than 100 workshops and sessions, including demonstrations of different cooking methods; preparing Michelin star dishes; discussing slow food in a fast-food culture; and going shopping in the Carmel Market at dawn. It’s a cornucopia of foodie experiences.

Merav Oren, the local entrepreneur who initiated Open Restaurants, said she came up with the idea during a particularly difficult time in her own life, while being treated for breast cancer.

“After each chemo treatment, I would go out with my husband, to sit outside in restaurants and in other places,” she said. “And as an entrepreneur I would wonder, How does it become this way? You know, you see the pretty plate and we all know the “MasterChef” TV shows, and it looks so easy. And it got me wondering, Is it really that easy? What’s going on behind the scenes, and how does it become this way?”

She wanted to see what took place in each restaurant kitchen, and figured that, if she was interested, there were others who felt the same.

The chefs participating in Open Restaurants (Courtesy Open Restaurants)
The chefs participating in Open Restaurants, with Oren in black, second row (photo credit: Courtesy Open Restaurants)

The event is inspired by the now-annual Houses from Within — the Batim Mibifnim project — when historic and architecturally interesting private homes are opened to the public.

But, unlike the open houses event, the Open Restaurants project is not free. Tickets are available online, and range in price from NIS 50 to NIS 300. Be warned: Sessions are selling out quickly.

So put on your chef’s shoes (Crocs work too), and come with an appetite. There’s some good food in your future.

Most Popular
read more: