Monday, 4 August:
News from the Holy Land – A War Time Chef’s Diary

Tomer Niv, head chef at the distinguished Restaurant Rama’s Kitchen in the Jerusalem hills, keeps us updated about the situation with an on-going diary published here in the Contemporary Food Lab Journal. In his kitchen, Muslim, Christian and Jewish cooks work together, trying their best, not to let the craziness around them impact the spirit among them. How to continue the everyday life hearing missiles exploding over the restaurant?


Monday, 4 August 2014

Day 29 of the conflict

Almost one month of escalation in Israel and Gaza. The world is witnessing a seemingly never-ending cycle of violence: lethal attacks on schools and hospitals, rockets aimed at civilians, tunnels chillingly lined with syringes and ropes; and the dead and dying children. The UN accuses Israel of possible war crimes.

Now with already a month of regional violence going on around us, we are still involved in business as usual here, still low numbers, but considering what is happening not too far from us, this is a miracle.

During all this time, all of my staff have been working as one unit. This is not work anymore, it is an escape from the reality around us.
Nassim has gone on a holiday to Greece, so we are one man down this weekend…
We play around with okra and organic corn all weekend, trying to explore those summer ingredients in a deeper way. I feel like making a corn cookie but one very light in texture. Or okra maybe with chamomile and seafood?
We continue to improve on our organisation skills but there is still much work to be done. The pastry oven in broken and it’s time to buy a new one, the only problem it that we are not making any money right now so will have to wait until we are busy again…

to Part I-VI

Background: Rama’s Kitchen is known for its excellent food as well as for the breathtaking beauty of the local nature. Particular to the Restaurant is its partial self-sufficiency – head chef Tomer Niv and his crew are drawing the vegetables from several gardens planted around the Restaurant. The crew too, is particular consisting of Muslims, Christians and Jews. This is something not to be taken for granted in the Middle East.

In the last two weeks the conflict around Gaza has reached new peaks. The situation started to escalate with the murder of three Israeli adolescents in June. Israeli hardliners took revenge – that being the official version of it – and killed a Palestinian boy. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Almost unnoticed by much of the world, joyfully tied up to their TVs watching the football world cup in Brazil, a new wave of violence has taken over much of the country. Fire from both sides. Growing numbers of people are being killed and injured. A possible ground invasion by the Israeli army was 10 days under discussion until it was lounged two weeks ago.


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