In hot water

Celebrity chef may marinate in jail

Eyal Shani reportedly refuses to dish out cash to pay back debts

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Chef Eyal Shani (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)
Chef Eyal Shani (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Eyal Shani, the eccentric gourmet host of Israel’s version of the reality TV show MasterChef, has found himself in a legal pickle and may have to stew in his own juices in prison for 45 days starting Sunday — unless he serves his creditors up a hot platter of dough.

Shani, known for his impenetrable and oftentimes bizarrely poetic comments to the show’s participants, opened at least four restaurants in the past four years but last year filed for bankruptcy. He has starred in a number of television cooking shows, most of which orbit around his peculiar mannerisms, enthusiastic gesticulations, and unconventional culinary descriptions that employ bewildering phraseology.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge Varda Elsheikh decided Wednesday that if Shani doesn’t dish out the sums he owes, he will be carted off to prison.

According to those familiar with the case, over the past 10 months, Shani put an order to pay his creditors NIS 1.45 million and half of his television earnings on the back burner, and has not transferred enough money to his bankruptcy fund.

Shani told Channel 2 that he was not going to jail and that he intends to appeal the court’s decision.

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