This is how it happens sometimes.
A search for a new brisket recipe for Passover led me to discover an exciting upcoming documentary about Israeli cuisine.
I found this short film by Roger Sherman on The Brisket Book when I was looking for the brisket recipe.
Roger, I then learned, is also an award-winning producer, director, cinematographer, photographer and author. His documentaries The Restaurateur, Medal of Honor, Alexander Calder, and Richard Rodgers: The Sweetest Sounds have been honored with an Emmy, a Peabody, and two Academy Award nominations. In addition to making the short film about The Brisket Book, he was also the photographer. His latest book, Ready, Steady, Shoot: A Pro’s Guide to Smartphone Video was published in December 2014.
But it’s Roger’s most recent project, The Search for Israeli Cuisine, that I’m super excited about. It’s a documentary exploring the dozens of diverse cultures of Israel told through food.
Roger was inspired to make this film about four years ago. Hummus and falafel were all he knew of Israeli cuisine before he visited Israel for the first time with Joan Nathan and other food press on a press trip. What he discovered was a vibrant restaurant scene in Tel Aviv that rivals New York City’s.
“What is remarkable,” Roger told me, “is how food traditions as diverse as Moroccan, Persian, and Lebanese, French, Italian, and Russian can be found on the tables of the most cutting-edge restaurants.”
It was upon returning to the states and telling friends about Israeli Cuisine that he realized he had the makings of a great film. Roger said “People had no clue and were surprised and even reacted with disbelief.”
Roger met acclaimed chef Michael Solomonov two years later when Lior Lev Sercarz, the master spice blender at La Boite, in NYC, told him that if he wanted to eat the best Israeli food in America, he had to go to Zahav. He had a wonderfully delicious meal, met Mike and in 15 minutes knew he had found his chef/guide for the film.
The film follows Michael as he visits more than 100 locations all over Israel, talking to chefs, home cooks, winemakers, cheese makers and farmers about their cultures, their heritages and what they’re cooking. Here’s a sampling of some of the people he meets from the film.
The Search for Israeli Cuisine is now in the final editing process and will be premièring sometime this fall on PBS. They’ve reached their Kickstarter goal but would love to raise additional funds to offset the 8.5% that Kickstarter charges. For more information, check out the The Search for Israeli Cuisine Kickstarter page. I can’t wait to see the completed film!
And here’s the brisket recipe I’ll be making for Passover. (I’ll let you know how it turns out!)
Temple Emanu-El Brisket from The Brisket Book
by Stephanie Pierson, photographs by Roger Sherman