Nadav and I have been friends for 10 years now: we shared a house the first year at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, a number of gastronomic travels (a memorable one was to Bordeaux), a passion for food (he has always cooked divinely and I always loved eating) and wine (ah the evenings spent drinking and tasting and uhm drinking), a passion for research (which enriches us and our work and hence the people around us). After graduation we went separate ways and haven’t been in touch for about 5 years. Then 2 years ago we met again at this special event in Turin which is Terra Madre, we hugged and started there where we left it. In these 2 years we kept in touch like we could, I followed his work on social media (his Instagram is @chef_nadav_malin) and we managed to skype a couple times: the problem is always time, he and I are busy and travelling and living in different countries. Lucky for us, every two years we meet in Turin at Terra Madre which awakens sweet memories.
In these 10 years we’ve known each other we both grew: together first, then separately. Now, it’s as if every time we meet again it’s only to exchange our acquired wisdom, to give one another something we could need for yet another time of separation.
Nadav is one of those restless old souls who find inspiration from art, nature and people. He can translate his experience into cooked food, like an painter does with a paintbrush. And he never stops until he gets to the roots. I remember during our second or third year he had to go on a stage in Japan (for those who don’t know, our university organised every year 5 “gastronomic trips” we called stages to either national or international destinations, while he was in the group going to Japan I was in the group going to Canada), he organised himself to go a month earlier to live with a Japanese family and work in their farm to learn more deeply about the Japanese culture. He returned knowing how to cook real sushi and other Japanese food which we don’t know about in the West, and told me “everything you know about Japanese food is wrong”. This is just a drop of what he did. I can say he is one of the most passionate and curious men I know. If you ever get a chance to travel to Israel and want to get the real gastronomic experience… do contact Nadav.
Here is a little interview – and on my facebook you can see the video interview which unfortunately is only in Italian (he speaks fluent Italian, Hebrew, English and Spanish 👌🏻).
Nadav is part of the Chefs 4 Peace Alliance, which started something like 15 years ago in Positano at an event where many chefs from different parts of the world and different religions came together to cook. They noticed how despite cultural differences, these chefs could be together in a kitchen and work in harmony. After that event they founded the Alliance. It’s important to understand that these chefs (and all chefs in general) don’t “bring” peace, but through the process of making food – which is what nourishes both body and soul – they give life… And where there is life and a will to live, there there is peace.
How did you get involved with Chefs 4 Peace?
My mother is one of the founders. She is the chef and the owner of Luiza Catering in Jerusalem. I grew up in that environment, but I joined the Alliance when I got back in 2012.
Where did you train as a chef?
I’m an autodidact.
After the University of Gastronomic Sciences, where did you continue your studies?
I made my master in San Sebastian at the Basque Culinary Institute in “Innovation and Restaurant Management”.
When you finally returned home, what was different?
When I returned everything was more or less the same except for the fact that we had a new structure for our kitchen in the village of Abu Gosh. I came back with much knowledge and experience and a well trained palate. I think some professors from Unisg like Gabriella Morini (Food Chemistry), Andrea Pieroni (Ethnobotany) and Nicola Perullo (Food Aesthetics) have implemented in me a new way of thought about food and cooking.
Which cities inspired you gastronomically and why?
Definitely Paris, San Sebastian, Kanazawa and Positano. Paris changed my life twice, gastronomically. The first time it was a trip before finding what and where was this University of Gastronomic Sciences, it’s when I understood I love gastronomy as it is. The second time to Paris two years ago, I started my project between food and art. In San Sebastian I discovered modern cuisine and the craziness for the perfection of food. Kanazawa is in Japan and I spent an entire week there by myself before the arrival of tourists, it was eyeopening to discover how Japanese cuisine developed independently from the rest of the world. About Positano I don’t think there’s much to explain, it was a place of discovery of Italian cuisine: good ingredients and very simple. I remember the owner of the hotel once came up to me and asked “why are you cooking all these spices and with all these ingredients? Look at our pizza, it’s just dough, mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil.” This is just the holy combination.
You can find here Nadav’s essay on food 🌱