Orthodox Israeli chef says kosher can be gourmet(Read article summary)
Miri Zorger, who trained at a secular culinary school and couldn't taste the food in class, is setting out to prove that it's possible to keep kosher and still be gourmet.
â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
Miri Zorger spent a year studying at the Israeli Institute of Culinary Arts, but she didnâ€™t taste a thing. Ms. Zorger, who is ultra-Orthodox, only eats food approved by Jewish dietary law. So she would re-create a kosher version of every lessonâ€™s dish at home.
â€śI developed a strong sense of smell,â€ť Zorger says. Now she is a leader in a culinary awakening among Israelâ€™s most religiously conservative Jews. In a kitchen fitted with a huge stainless-steel freezer, Zorger prepares her signature tiny chocolates flecked with gold and festooned with coffee beans. For three years Zorger has hosted a weekly radio cooking show. She is culinary adviser to a womenâ€™s gourmet kosher food exposition. Zorger hopes to open a restaurant, and in September, she released her first cookbook.
â€śWhen I make food, I look for the artistic perspective,â€ť she says. â€śTo me itâ€™s important to show kosher food can be gourmet.â€ť
Israelis have seen a blossoming of their local cheese and bread industries. But few of the offerings were kosher, so the ultra-Orthodox clung to tradition. This is changing as rabbis approve such ingredients as chili strings and kosher gelatin.