Arab Israeli celebrity chef aims to foster peace through cooking

Arab Israeli celebrity chef aims to foster peace through cooking

[Ed. – The way to a terrorist’s heart is through his stomach.]

Reality cooking shows have propelled many an aspiring chef to foodie stardom in the U.S. — Harold Dieterle, Jeff Mauro and Mike Isabella, to name a few.

But unlike her American counterparts, the most recent winner of Israel’s Master Chef does not aspire to launch her own show or even open her own restaurant.

At first blush, the Arab Israeli cook Nof Atamna-Ismaeel has smaller ambitions: opening a Jewish-Arab cooking school. But her ultimate goal — to create common ground between Arab and Jewish Israelis — is anything but modest.

“It sounds very naive,” Atamna-Ismaeel tells All Things Considered‘s Melissa Block. “[But] what I see is a group of Jewish and Arabic people, who are sitting in a sushi class, rolling sushi together, laughing, talking about what they like in food.”

Atamna-Ismaeel, a microbiologist by trade, is the first Arab Israeli to take home the popular show’s top prize. She calls her cooking style “Arab food with a modern twist,” and won the judges over with her deep-fried mullet served on an almond cream, a dish she’s dubbed “Sultan’s Spring.”

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