My first job was aged 12 in a local café, Maria’s. I started by cleaning up, replenishing the sugar bowls and the salt & pepper sets and my role soon morphed into playing truant, waitressing and hanging out at the staff table, #8.
In 1999, a month helping Layo at The End & AKA evolved into ten very special years working together side by side. Three years ago I joined Hawksmoor whilst thinking about which serious direction I’d go in next. I tried to switch careers, but like an ex-con being wheeled in for ‘one last job’, it never happened.
Great food was paramount in my grandparents’ and parents’ homes – a vibrant family with a rich amalgam of cultural heritage and influences – English, Russian, French, Austrian and Irish – In fact food was the only thing no one argued about. Aged five I was already eating oysters on holiday and helping out in the kitchen.
I opened The End in 1995 and AKA three years later. Travelling as Layo & Bushwacka, I was lucky enough to eat not only in the best restaurants, but also the most varied, amazing street food. I decided the next journey had to be to open a restaurant. I no longer DJ.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem by a loving Moroccan mama and Kurdish papa. Food and respect for culinary heritage was always a big part of my life.
In the summer of 2005, I was about to go and study music in California and Chef Uri Navon (my brother from another mother), offered me a job in a kitchen. After two weeks I knew I wanted to be a chef. And that’s how the world was spared from another struggling rocker.
I believe a good eating experience is supposed to evoke all of your senses. It’s a great privilege for me to get up every morning to the joy of cooking and hosting.
I was walking in an alley in Praiano. In the kitchen window of a small house I saw an Italian “Mama” working away, I asked “che cosa fate?”. She invited me in where she was preparing “Gnocchi de spinaci con ricotta” Take the spinach and steam it, then squeeze all the liquid out, add flour, egg, salt and finally the ricotta. Then fresh Gnocchi, tomato sauce and it tasted like heaven!
Later in my restaurant the fresh smell of chopped spinach brought the memory back, I took her recipe but didn’t squeeze all the liquid, melted some butter and added goat’s yoghurt, let it simmer slowly and put the gnocchi in the simmering yoghurt. It tasted like heaven too!
Everyone calls me “Buffalo”. I don’t remember when this nickname began, but it’s pretty accurate. Born in Jerusalem, I’ve always loved the city. She is my inspiration. My culinary education began there and with my grandmother.
I worked in various restaurants and then took part in “Iron Chef”, Israeli style, winning the second season of the show. Next with Uri Navon and Yossi “Papi” Elad as my accomplices, we opened a restaurant, Machneyuda. A restaurant near the market, in all aspects. A connection between Jerusalem and our experience of European cooking culture. We now have 5 restaurants and have become The Machneyuda Group. I recently returned to TV and continue to mentor a team of young and talented chefs.
The love for pastry came at an early age. Ever since I can remember I’ve helped my mother in the kitchen. It started with simple tasks, but as time went by my mother was happy to rest and give me occasional tips from the sofa. I followed my passion and started studying pastry.
In 2012 I began working with the Machneyuda group alongside my husband, Tomer. The thing that I enjoy most is to see someone’s reaction when eating a dessert. Even the most serious business man becomes a child again. And that’s all there is to it, touching people’s inner child!
Food has always played a huge part in my life. In my culture food is a way of bringing family together, and sourcing the best produce meant travelling hundreds of miles to find it. From the age of six, I remember begging my auntie to spend weekends helping my granddad with his street food van. I thought it was the most glamourous job in the world!
I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was thirteen and my journey has taken me to both gastro pubs and fine dining restaurants. For the last seven years I have worked in Michelin starred restaurants but I wanted a new challenge which brings me on to The Palomar…
My very first encounter with The Palomar was when I met Papi at another Kitchen Bar. He was describing the new restaurant they were opening and after hearing all about it, I knew I had to try it. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere, the people, and the food…the rest is history. I am delighted to be part of The Palomar team.
It all started with a phone call… Zoe had just joined AKA as General Manager and needed a wingman so I applied as a cocktail bartender and rapidly moved up to General Manager when Zoe became Director of The End and AKA. We have been very close friends for over twenty five years, and once working alongside her, we quickly realised that we believed in the same core principles from customer service to management. I originally planned to stay for one year and ended up staying for seven!
I then left to study acting and supplemented my income as a personal trainer, but I was looking for a new challenge and then I received the second call from Zoe… The Palomar is now my stage, the customers my audience, and the chefs my orchestra. It feels as if I have been in training all of my life for my greatest ever role…